Online and Design-Based Learning in Sophomore Engineering Mechanics
Forthcoming Article
DOI: 10.1615/IntJInnovOnlineEdu.2019029778

For many years, Deakin University in Australia has offered a four-year undergraduate engineering degree program; simultaneously online and on-campus. This paper describes how we have applied a new design- and project-based pedagogy to a course in sophomore engineering mechanics for civil and mechanical engineers, both online and on-campus. Specific challenges included how to deliver educational content and practical experiences to the online cohort in statics, dynamics, and mechanics of materials, setting semester-long design projects that worked with both cohorts, establishing effective communication and interaction between both lecturers and students and among all the students themselves, and assessing learning in both cohorts. By means of modern communication and educational technologies, we did overcome these difficulties. As measured by assignments, lab reports and exams, the online cohort’s mean academic performance was higher than that of the on-campus cohort, as were the mean relative measures of student satisfaction. Our results show that not only can engineering mechanics be effectively taught simultaneously to on-campus and online students, but the more difficult task of effectively adding a major design element and group work to the program is also achievable.

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