ENGR 390: A hybrid concept

I plan to offer ENGR 390 Engineering Economy course as a hybrid offering in Fall 2014. I have some experience teaching this class online (3 times) as well as on campus in a traditional setting (6 times). The online section typically has 10-20 students. The Corvallis campus offering has about 90-100 students and typically has 2 offerings.

My first motivation for offering the hybrid course is to make a comparative assessment if there is a way to address the limitations and challenges posed by the two previous offerings. By investing this time, I will be able to gain first-hand experience in disruptive teaching innovations sweeping academia. I expect that the experience will allow me to formulate improved strategies for meeting a big challenge in current engineering education of more effectively engaging students in a large class-room. I would also like to tap into the opportunity of addressing learning needs that are more global than local.

In the hybrid course offering, I will use about 75 short video lectures (5-8 minutes in length) that I have recorded for the on-line component of the course. These lectures cover all the concepts needed for the course along with several examples. This will allow students to have a flexible learning platform that will partially address student engagement challenges in a large class-room such as: (a) I missed what was said and now can’t keep pace, (b) I was too tired/sick/bored to attend class and now I am behind, (c) the concept was too complicated at first explanation and I would like to hear it again. Despite, all these lofty motivations, I suspect that many students will not put in the time to carefully study this material and hope to get by the course simply showing up unprepared to class, as is their current disposition.

In order to address the above problem, I would like to add quizzes on Blackboard that ensure that the student is putting in the time to learn the material and that too in a timely manner. I heard some ideas on how it can be implemented with automatic grading without becoming an enormous work burden. I have experimented on this idea with a commercial portal that is fraught with too many limitations. I’d like to put this alternative approach into practice and award 20% of the grade on this exercise.

The traditional format provides little opportunity to implement a term project owing to the class size. I am tinkering with the idea of using small on-line discussion groups (say 10) that will work on an assigned problem in stages and deliver an online report and presentation around Week 8 (10% of the grade). The rest of the class has to review the material and will submit an assignment based on the projects in Week 10 (10% of the grade). This is the most challenging part of the course design and chances are if I don’t get good ideas from my learning cohorts I may well abandon this part of the course.

In the flipped classroom, I’d like to have working sessions to solve problems for which the students are graded for another 30%. The face time will also involve 2 mid-terms for 30-40% of the grade (depending on whether the project route is feasible or not).

I’d love to hear what the rest of the learning crew thinks about my proposed course design.













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