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The Remote Classroom – Asynchronous Delivery Of Engineering Courses To A Widely Dispersed Student Body

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Preparing Civil Engineering Students for a Flat World

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1457.1 - 12.1457.13



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Paper Authors


James Ledlie Klosky

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Led Klosky is an Associate Professor and Director of the Mechanics Group in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Maryland. Dr. Klosky received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1987 and 1988, respectively. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

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Stephen Ressler U.S. Military Academy

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Colonel Stephen J. Ressler is Deputy Head of the Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. He earned a B.S. degree from USMA in 1979 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 1989 and 1991. A registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, he serves as a member of the ASCE Educational Activities Committee and is a former Chairman of the ASEE CE Division.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Remote Classroom – Asynchronous Delivery of Engineering Courses to a Widely Dispersed Student Body J Ledlie Klosky, USMA and Stephen Ressler, USMA


As the world continues to flatten (Friedman, 2005), student demand for significant overseas experiences has intensified. This demand is seen broadly across the nation, but at the United States Military Academy (USMA), it has manifested in the Dean’s goal of getting 15% of all students at USMA to spend a semester studying abroad. This translates to roughly 150 students each year—all of whom study in countries corresponding to the seven foreign languages (Chinese, Russian, Arabic, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese) taught at USMA. A quick search of almost any university’s website, large or small, reveals that similar drives towards a broad, internationally-informed education for all students has overtaken the entire higher education enterprise. Additionally, since interaction in a language other than English is strongly preferred and student language proficiencies are highly unpredictable, these semesters abroad are not completely “programmable” across all majors at one university through a direct partnership with a single overseas institution. When combined with state, or in our case federal, mandates for graduation in 8 semesters, these international exchange programs present some unique challenges both in terms of curriculum and delivery of engineering course content.

At USMA, our solution has relied on a two-pronged approach. First, the curricular content of the semester abroad is focused on the liberal arts, which are arguably much better suited to delivery at many different overseas institutions. Second, by offering at least one engineering course via remote, internet-enabled means, we can keep the student on-track for timely graduation within their ABET major. We distinguish between the more traditional distance learning as taking place at a known facility at the receiving end and remote learning as a highly adaptable, asynchronous educational delivery method that is focused on effectively delivering content to a single student at an unknown location assuming only a rudimentary, intermittent internet connection. This paper will address specifically remote learning.

This paper explores results and observations based on two principal methods of delivering engineering courses via remote learning--low-overhead and high-overhead. In the low-overhead mode, we taught Mechanics of Materials to a student in central France through the use of simple internet technologies and a webcam, allowing the student to view lectures (though not live) and interact directly with the professor live over the internet through text-based chat (AIM) and live video “telephone” (Skype). The principal methods for evaluating student work were an occasional electronic submission of worked problems and a final exam administered after the student’s return. In the high-overhead mode, four students took Introduction to Engineering Mechanics and Design, a combined statics and mechanics of materials course, during the same semester while in Russia, China and Brazil. This version of remote learning was enabled by extensive use of interactive Flash media content, frequent direct feedback to students based on the weekly submission of worked problems and daily responses to lesson-specific “critical

Klosky, J. L., & Ressler, S. (2007, June), The Remote Classroom – Asynchronous Delivery Of Engineering Courses To A Widely Dispersed Student Body Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2645

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