Engineering cultures: Comparing student learning in online and classroom based implementations

Rosamond Parkhurst, Barbara M. Moskal, Juan Lucena, Gary Lee Downey, Thomas Bigley, Sharon Elber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Engineering Cultures is a course that was developed primarily to prepare United States' engineering students to effectively collaborate and communicate with engineers from other countries. In order to reach a broad audience, two versions of this course have been developed and offered: an online and an in-class version. The schools participating are Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VT) and the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). In this article, the results of an investigation that compares the learning outcomes and student perceived usefulness of the two designs are reported. The assessment instruments used in this investigation were multiple-choice content pre and post tests, essay pre and post tests, and a self-report end of semester survey. Differences in learning between the two courses were not detected on the pre to post multiple-choice content test; however, differences were detected, with in-class students displaying greater increases, between the pre and post essay exam. This indicates that the learning outcomes measured through the essay exam, which included analysis and synthesis, were better supported through classroom based instruction than the online instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-964
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Assessment
  • Global engineering
  • On-line learning


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