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The Paperless First-Year Professor

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Technology for Faculty Development and Classroom Management

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Rustin Deane Webster Purdue University, New Albany

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Dr. Rustin Webster is an assistant professor at Purdue University. He teaches within the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and the department of engineering technology. He specializes in mechanical engineering and computer graphics technology. Prior to joining Purdue, Dr. Webster worked in the Department of Defense field as an engineer, project manager, and researcher. His specialization was in mechanical design, research and development, and business development. He studied at Murray State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham where his research was on immersive virtual learning environments for educational training purposes. Furthermore, Dr. Webster has received various professional certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SolidWorks Corporation, the Project Management Institute, and NACE International.

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This paper presents the experience of creating and adopting a paperless curriculum framework for a first year visiting assistant professor. The professor utilized a learning management system (LMS) and internet-based applications exclusively inside a typical classroom environment. The self-imposed challenge of going digital across all assigned courses was in the hope that his classroom efficiency and effectiveness would be positive, and the transition from a business career and mindset to one of teaching and scholarship would be easier. Additional goals included increasing the opportunity and capability of easy and quick sharing of full course curriculum with fellow faculty, while reducing clutter (office and classroom) and grading times. Key to the framework was utilization of the LMS and its built in features, such as automated grading and tablet/stylus functionality. Also used were online tools for collaboration, industry supplied instructional materials, and lessons from massive open online courses (MOOC). Going paperless proved to be relatively easy due to the professor’s technical proficiency and the type of courses taught. The focus of the majority of the professor’s assigned courses were on the development of technical skills within a digital environment, such as computer-aided design (CAD), programming, and graphic design. Over one academic year, which included seven courses (six different), the professor was able to meet the original goals of the framework. Based on the end of course surveys, student feedback, and self-observations he also believes that the framework was positive for the students and the start of his academic career. This paper presents the framework used along with lessons learned and tips for those who are interested in embracing educational technology at the start of their academic career or those seasoned professors who just need a little guidance with new techniques.

Webster, R. D. (2017, June), The Paperless First-Year Professor Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28991

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