Engineering Faculty--Advice, Please

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geoteo:
For many reasons, I am going to try to establish a connection with another school, so Weird Niche can offer an Intro to Engineering course.  The other school is several hours away, but it has to be this one, and no other.  Is it feasible for Intro to Engineering to be offered as an online class?  It appears to me that it consists of an hour of lecture and two hours of lab per week.  Is that about right?  How crazy is this idea?

sciencegrad:
Considering how lecture-heavy engineering classes tend to be, I don't see why prerecorded lectures wouldn't work. I would imaging that plenty of office hours or very open communication would be required to help the students who have never seen any of the content before and are not used to the amount of self-learning that is required in engineering courses.

scampster:
Quote from: geoteo on January 17, 2013,  4:59:35 PM

For many reasons, I am going to try to establish a connection with another school, so Weird Niche can offer an Intro to Engineering course.  The other school is several hours away, but it has to be this one, and no other.  Is it feasible for Intro to Engineering to be offered as an online class?  It appears to me that it consists of an hour of lecture and two hours of lab per week.  Is that about right?  How crazy is this idea?


Unless the two hours of lab are supposed to be computer applications, I'm not sure how you could offer two hours of lab per week. I guess I have heard of online courses where the students get the materials to do labs at home, so I guess that could work too.

FWIW, many schools don't even have a course like this - none of the engineering programs I attended had a generic "Intro to Engineering" course. My primary point is that the format that you suggest (one hour of lecture and two of lab) isn't some common course amongst all engineering programs (unless ABET requirements have changed recently, which they very well might have). I don't see why you couldn't make it more lecture and discussion based if implementing labs online would be difficult.

krisanthe:
Is the idea that the lectures would be online, but the students would have to show up for lab, or would both lab and lecture be online?

Our intro engineering sequence is mostly on campus lab and group work, so for us, a 100% online version would be near impossible.   During our last ABET visit, our evaluator was very serious about making sure our students had enough group work.  They were happy to see group work in our senior design course, but I got the impression that if our students had not also done group work during their intro engineering sequence, it would have been a problem.  Not enough group work probably won't prevent your program from being accredited, but it may cause a concern. 

If you did online lectures and in person lab and group work, I think that could work as long as there are plenty of office hours as other have mentioned.

usukprof:
What does an Intro to Engineering course look like for non-engineers?  We have one in our engineering school, but it is a brief overview of each of the programs intended to help undecided engineers decide on a major.

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