A comparative analysis of online and in-class versions of engineering cultures

Rosamond Parkhurst, Barbara Moskal, Gary Downey, Juan Lucena, Thomas Bigley, Sharon Ruff

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

At many institutions, online courses are becoming increasingly available. Yet, very little research has been completed on the effectiveness of online courses as compared to in class versions. "Online" is defined here to be a course in which all instructional and course materials are available via internet. At Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the Colorado School of Mines a course titled, Engineering Cultures, has been offered both online and in class. Based on the current Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology criteria, all engineering students should have some understanding of global issues, suggesting the importance of courses such as Engineering Cultures. If such a course can be delivered online, access can be provided to a broad range of engineering students. Online seems to be an excellent method to provide broad access to educational material, but is it as effective as in class versions of the same course? As part of this study, a multiple choice pretest and a posttest were administered to a treatment and control group. The treatment group completed the online version of the course and the control group completed the in class version of the course. Both groups also completed a survey at the end of the course. The results of this analysis were surprising: the treatment group displayed greater increases from pre to post test than did the control group. In other words, the online students displayed a greater increase in knowledge as measured by the test than did the in class students.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2006Jun 21 2006

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