Asee peer logo

Use of Multimedia Case Studies in an Introductory Engineering Course at Two Southeastern Universities: A Qualitative Evaluation Study

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

FPD 4: First-Year Engineering Courses, Part I: Multimedia, Large Classes, and TAs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1295.1 - 23.1295.21



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kimberly C. Huett University of West Georgia

visit author page

Kim C. Huett is an instructor of technology integration at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia. She holds an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology, an M.S. in Secondary Education, and B.A. degrees in English and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently a doctoral student in School Improvement, Kim's research interests include the design of distance learning environments, teacher education, and STEM education.

visit author page


Barbara B. Kawulich University of West Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Barbara Kawulich is Interim Director of the Evaluation Center and Associate Professor of Research in the Educational Technology and Foundations Department at the University of West Georgia. She teaches qualitative and action research, ethics, leadership, and diversity to graduate and undergraduate students. Her research focuses on research methods, research pedagogy, and issues related to indigenous women. She has authored numerous publications on these topics and has co-authored two books on research methods.

visit author page


P.K. Raju Mechanical Engineering Dept, Auburn University,Al

visit author page

Dr. Raju is the Thomas Walter Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He is the co-founder and director of the NSF-funded Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE). LITEE has recently been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the 29 programs in the country that have successfully infused real-world experiences into undergraduate engineering education. He is also the founder and director of the Auburn Engineering Technical Assistance Program (AETAP)
Prior to coming to Auburn in 1984, Dr. Raju held faculty positions in several universities in India and visiting positions at the Catholic University of America, Purdue University and the Technical University of Berlin. Dr. Raju received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1977.
He has made significant research contributions in engineering education, as well as innovations, acoustics, noise control, nondestructive evaluation and technology transfer, resulting in award-winning and significant breakthroughs. He has received a total of $12 million in funding, including grants from industries, the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, NIST, NIH, EDA, and other U.S. and international agencies. He has published 24 books, eight book chapters, and 200 papers in journals and conference proceedings. He has received several awards for his teaching, research and outreach work from INEER, NASA, NSF, ASME, ASEE, Auburn University, and others. He has also served as a United Nations and UNDP expert.
Dr. Raju served as a World Bank lecturer at the National Aeronautical Laboratory, the Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. in Bangalore, India, and the National Institutes of Technology in Trichy and Calicut. He has held Invited Professorships at the Université Bordeaux I, Talence, and Université Du Havre in Le Harve, France. He has been an invited/ keynote speaker at several national and international conferences. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of India. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research (

visit author page

author page

Chetan S Sankar Auburn University

Download Paper |


Use of Multimedia Case Studies in an Introductory Engineering Course at Two Southeastern Universities: A Qualitative Evaluation Study It has been suggested that changes in the classroom environment and nature of instructionmay positively affect student learning of introductory engineering concepts (Mayo, 2007). Inresponse to recent calls to improve engineering instruction (Bernold, Spurlin, & Anson, 2007;NAE, 2005), an interdisciplinary team of researchers in engineering, business and education;course instructors; graduate students; and instructional designers in the private sector workedtogether over a three-year period to improve the introductory engineering courses offered at twouniversities in the Southeast: the first being a large public university and the second anhistorically black university. Course improvements initiated by the team included curriculumchanges, such as incorporating multimedia case studies and serious games, both of whichprovided the potential for cost-effectiveness and broader appeal (Mayo, 2007). Employing an action evaluation approach (Rothman, 2009) to facilitate continuous datacollection and feedback for improvement in subsequent iterations of the course, a team ofexternal researchers collected qualitative data from students through open-ended surveys andfocus groups to determine the effectiveness of the instructional methods. Data were collected andanalyzed after each semester, and results were disseminated to the larger team to guide coursemodifications for the next semester. This qualitative action evaluation study focuses on the third year of the study, whichrepresents the culmination of course improvements that were made to the introductoryengineering course from fall 2009 to spring 2012. Using an expanded 3P model (Biggs & Moore, 1993), the 4P model (presage, pedagogy,process, and product) provided a theoretical framework for the three evaluation questions thatguided the research. The questions focused on students’ perceptions of the value and nature ofinstructional methods and group work in the course and on the strengths and areas forimprovement they perceived as needed. Students were assigned to course sections thatincorporated multimedia case studies (i.e., Chick Fil A, Della, STS 51-L, and Mauritius casestudies) or were assigned research topics as round table discussions. In fall 2011, after completing the course in which multimedia case studies were used, 102students responded to a post-semester survey and 64 participated in focus groups to share theirprior engineering experience, preferred teaching styles, preference for working alone or ingroups, suggestions for improving the course, perceptions about what portions of the course wereinteresting and helpful to learning and about its potential for their future work, among others. In spring 2012, after completing the course, 110 students responded to the survey, 36 ofwhom had been exposed to the multimedia case studies and 74 of whom had used assignedtopics in roundtable discussions. Of the 36 students using multimedia case studies, nine studentsparticipated in focus groups; of the 74 students using assigned topics in roundtable discussions,15 students participated in focus groups. Data were analyzed, using a thematic analysis approach (Braun & Clarke, 2006), whereapplicable; however, in instances where data were one or two word responses and thematicanalysis was not possible, frequency counts were conducted to provide some analytic discussionof the data. Findings indicate that students’ prior experience with case studies influenced how theyperceived the use of multimedia cases. Students at both universities indicated that case studieswere beneficial. Other findings illustrated that what they found to be interesting was notnecessarily what they found to be helpful to their learning. Coursework was deemed to beimportant to their future work environments and coursework, particularly with learningcommunication skills and in group work. The results will also include student perceptions of the larger course (e.g., the use of thelecture format, hands-on design projects, and group work, etc.), as these are relevant to the wayin which students perceived and talked about their experiences with specific study conditions.The study will include recommendations and discussion related to design considerations inintroductory engineering courses. ReferencesBernold, L. E., Spurlin, J. E., & Anson, C. M. (2007). Understanding our students: A longitudinal-study of success and failure in engineering with implications for increased retention. Journal of Engineering Education, 96(3), 263-274. Retrieved from, J.B., Moore, P.J. (1993). The process of learning (3rd ed.). Sydney: Prentice Hall.Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oaMayo, M.J. (2007). Games for science and engineering education. Communications of the ACM, 50(7). Retrieved from Academy of Engineering (NAE). (2005). Adapting engineering education to the new century: Educating the engineer of 2020. Washington, D.C.: The National Academy Press. Retrieved from, J. (2009). Action evaluation: A new method of goal setting, planning and defining success for community development initiatives. Retrieved from Method.pdf

Huett, K. C., & Kawulich, B. B., & Raju, P., & Sankar, C. S. (2013, June), Use of Multimedia Case Studies in an Introductory Engineering Course at Two Southeastern Universities: A Qualitative Evaluation Study Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22680

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015