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There Is No Substitute For Face To Face Learning: Or Is There?

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Web Education: Delivery and Evaluation

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1202.1 - 7.1202.8



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Paper Authors

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Tim Diemer

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Rob Wolter

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Cliff Goodwin

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

Main Menu Session 2420

There Is No Substitute For Face-to-Face Learning: Or Is There?

Tim Diemer, Robert Wolter, Cliff Goodwin

Purdue University School of Engineering and Technology/IUPUI

In spring of 2000, the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision (Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) offered students the option to take a sophomore level survey course fully online. The course, titled "Human Behavior in Organizations," was also offered in traditional, classroom-based sections. The challenge the authors faced as instructors went beyond the usual tasks of presenting content online. The plan was to organize students into learning groups within a "virtual classroom" (VC) and provide them with the same sort of structured learning experiences that characterize the methodology used in traditional sections of the same class. Although individual lesson plans were changed substantially to fit the online format, the intention was to retain the methodology of group discussion and group problem solving.

A primary objective of this course is the formation of productive, cohesive, learning groups. The content of "Human Behavior in Organizations" includes extensive study of the behavior of groups within organizations. In classroom-based sections of this course, instructors require students to form learning groups that remain stable over the semester. The groups are given structured exercises to encourage them to interact with textbook 5 content. Instructors also assign learning projects that require cooperation within the classroom groups over several class sessions. The intention is to provide an intense experience in group interaction so that students can examine textbook concepts about group process in the context of their own experience in the classroom groups. Can the same experiential approach to teaching group dynamics be applied successfully to a "virtual classroom"? The authors believe that their VC groups have shown that it can.

ABET requires that engineering graduates learn effective team skills. The information in this article will interest professors who desire to teach team dynamic skills within the context of one of their existing courses. Most programs do not have the flexibility to offer a team dynamic course and integrating team experiences into existing classes seems the most likely approach.

Format of Instructional Delivery

The VC sections of "Human Behavior in Organizations" included both synchronous and asynchronous instructional modes. Software developed by Indiana University at the Indianapolis campus provided the necessary interface for both modes.

Synchronous Mode

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Diemer, T., & Wolter, R., & Goodwin, C. (2002, June), There Is No Substitute For Face To Face Learning: Or Is There? Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10275

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