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Web Based Forums For Student Learning Through Teaching

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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

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1601.1 - 12.1601.11



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Crown University of Texas-Pan American

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Arturo Fuentes University of Texas-Pan American

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

Web-Based Forums for Student Learning Through Teaching Using Course Projects and Homework


Providing opportunities for students to learn through teaching is becoming practical due to new educational applications of commercial technology and may not only be advantageous to a student’s own process of learning, but beneficial to other students. The media age has introduced positive advances to education and several challenges. The prevalence of quality media rich content related to course material has produced an increasing expectation among students that learning should be easy and is primarily the responsibility of the instructor. Additionally, access to report writing services and vendors who will sell homework solutions manuals presents many challenges to students. Addressing these issues can be frustrating and time consuming for faculty. This paper presents the experiments conducted in four mechanical engineering courses spanning from freshman to graduate level courses that lead the authors to discover that many students enjoy partnering with the faculty in addressing these issues, the benefits to students through involvement in the process, and the practical issues in terms of implementation. In each course students were given projects and or homework assignments that might typically be viewed as work to be accomplished by the instructor. Such activities include the creation of relevant homework problems and solutions, the creation of media-rich instructional materials such as tutorial movies for course related software, and the development of web-based instructional materials related to the course. The impact of the “student learning through teaching activities” on student learning has been positive as evidenced by the improved performance in exams and the positive feedback on surveys. Students are motivated by the fact that their work is being evaluated by their peers and that it has some useful purpose that will continue to serve students for semesters to come. Finally, this paper discusses the use of different web-based forums that are managed by students to facilitate the implementation of the proposed activities.


The recent growth in blogs and public forums is startling. The number of sites, volume of content, and number of users that post and access content is so large that it is difficult to categorize who is accessing and posting this information and what is the value of the content. It does not, however, take much time to explore a random sample of these sites to determine that in the mix there is a wealth of helpful and accurate information being posted and accessed by users. The growth and popularity of this medium that promotes communication, debate, problem solving, etc. and then documents and provides access to that information certainly has some bearing on higher education. There is no question that some students and faculty currently use this medium to answer questions or discuss educational issues (1,2), however the full potential of this technology and its potential positive impact has not been fully exploited.

The objective of higher education is to produce graduates who have grown significantly in their knowledge and who are prepared to continue on a path of acquiring knowledge and applying it in their field. Although this objective has not changed throughout the long history of higher education the culture, institutions, and technology have. Some of these changes necessitate

Crown, S., & Fuentes, A. (2007, June), Web Based Forums For Student Learning Through Teaching Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2997

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