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Teaching first-year engineering in an online learning environment

Faculty Advisor




engineering education, engineering curriculum

Abstract (summary)

Teaching models in face-to-face classes have evolved over time with goals to maximize student learning through the use of learning models such as problem based, experiential, cooperative, active and discovery learning to name a few. Mastery of these teaching models requires an instructor to be knowledgeable and proficient with different media (e.g. whiteboard, projector, demonstration equipment, feedback tools, communication tools, learning management systems) while teaching and assessing students. When switching to different types of delivery methods (face-to-face, online, and hybrid) it is important to ensure that alternative teaching and learning methods and media are possible to accommodate and enhance learning. The recent Pandemic has caused a rapid transition to online teaching without time to adjust teaching and learning methodologies. This has caused changes in both the teaching environment and the learning community which are factors in both social and constructivism learning theories. In terms of the environment, students are now isolated physically and move around in a virtual environment; their experience and motivation varied by technology and societal factor. Similarly, changes in the learning community were found as students are no longer physically in groups but exist in virtual communities which affect student motivation and support. The research in this paper focuses on the effects of the shift to an online teaching modality. It first looks at the influencing factors in constructivism learning theory (such as the environment and community) and develops an inventory of concepts and techniques used to teach first year engineering both within a face-to-face and online learning environment. The paper then reflects on challenges found in recent online teaching experiences within an online environment in different first-year engineering courses, and finally discusses opportunities for improvements.

Publication Information

Lorimer, S. A., & Davis, J. A. (2021, August), Teaching First-year Engineering in an Online Learning Environment Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual .



Presented on August, 9-10, 2021 at the "First-Year Engineering Education (FYEE) Annual Conference" virtual conference.

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