June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1439.1 - 11.1439.10
WebCT – A Powerful Web-Enhanced Instruction Tool for Engineering Technology Courses Abstract:
We started using web-enhanced instruction in Engineering Technology (ET) courses in 2000 when BlackBoard – CourseInfo (also called CourseInfo for simplicity) was made available. It was a very user friendly web tool that both instructor and students could learn quickly. In 2003 our university decided to adopt WebCT for its compatibility with the existing Student Information System (SIS). Although it took longer to learn different tools and the process was very involved, we soon found out that WebCT is more powerful than CourseInfo. The author is using WebCT in several ET courses including Engineering Fundamentals, 2-D CADD, 3-D CADD, Statics, Dynamics, Strength of Materials, Thermodynamics, Fluid Power, and Industrial Safety. WebCT’s excellent file management system is very helpful in the CADD classes particularly when students are required to submit several files for each project. The files are grouped under each student’s ID and zipped so that the instructor needs to download only one file and unzip it. This feature was not available on CourseInfo. The digital drop box lets students submit their assignment, tests, term papers and project reports electronically while eliminating the need for hard copies, floppy/zip disks or CD’s. The instructor can edit the drop box settings such as deadline, multiple submissions, late submission and release of grades etc. When multiple submissions are allowed, students can submit the updated files only after retrieving the old files so that the instructor need not deal with dozens of unnecessary files whereas this was a major problem we faced while using CourseInfo. Built-in tools such as the organizer page, single page, and url page can be effectively used to customize and present the course information neatly on the WecbCT site. Posting and editing of announcements, assignments and projects, and keys to test problems has been made easy on WebCT. There are several communication tools for the students to interact with the instructor and among themselves. The e-mail feature can be used to communicate with a particular student, a group or the entire class. Currently on WebCT, there is no limit on the disk space or file size to be uploaded and therefore, instructional mpeg videos, PowerPoint presentations and slide shows are made available to the students. We could not do this on CourseInfo for reasons unknown.
Web-based and web-enhanced instruction1,2 has become a very powerful tool and many instructors and students have embraced it. In the spring of 2000, our university adopted Blackboard – CourseInfo (also called CourseInfo for simplicity) for web-based and web- enhanced instruction. The author attended workshops on CourseInfo and learned several tools and techniques. He developed course sites for several ET courses including Dynamics,3 Fluid Power,4 CADD,5 Statics, Strength of Materials, and Thermodynamics on CourseInfo. In reference 5, he has discussed the advantages and limitations of web-enhanced instruction in Engineering Technology citing examples from Fluid Power which is a lecture/lab course. He has discussed the advantages of adopting CourseInfo for CADD courses which are essentially lab courses.
Sridhara, B. (2006, June), Webct – A Powerful Web Enhanced Instruction Tool For Engineering Technology Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/875
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