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Virtual Learning Community Model For A Freshman Engineering Design Project Course

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.594.1 - 4.594.6

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Paper Authors

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Shahen Akelyan

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Rupa Purasinghe

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Javed Alam

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

Session 2520

Virtual Learning Community Model for a Freshman Engineering Design Project Course

Rupa Purasinghe1, Shahen Akelyan3 Department of Civil Engineering California State University at Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 90032 Javed Alam2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH 44555


This paper documents the successful implementation of Virtual Learning Community Model in a Freshman Engineering Design course at California State University at Los Angeles (CSLA) and its parallel implementation as a communication tool at Youngstown State University. A virtual learning community software based on client/server computing model was installed at CSLA. It allowed group of students to collaborate in real time through a graphics based chat facility. These were accessible round the clock since they reside on a World Wide Web server. As CSLA is predominantly a commuting campus this model was instrumental in bringing students together in their project when they are not on campus.

1. Introduction

The World Wide Web is emerging as a new medium for transmitting information globally, in multimedia format. Engineering educators have been using the Web the past few years in their classes, for posting course guidelines, homework, and to develop courseware [1-4] including interactive modules. Several virtual communities [5-7] have been created to enhance professional community. Examples of other virtual community creation tools are “Community Place’ ( [8] and ‘The Palace’ ( [9]. To exploit the latest achievements of technology of networked multimedia for instructional purposes the commercially available “Palace Software” ( was installed at CSLA. The software is based on client/server computing model. It allows a group to collaborate in real time through a graphics based chat facility. The text based chat software has been used for real time communication for some time. However, the text from all the participants in the chat room appears in the same window. If several people are talking on different topics then it becomes difficult to follow the thread of the conversation. The Palace software eliminates this drawback

1 Professor 2 Professor <,> 3 Undergraduate Student

Akelyan, S., & Purasinghe, R., & Alam, J. (1999, June), Virtual Learning Community Model For A Freshman Engineering Design Project Course Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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