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Impact of COVID-19 on introductory engineering units: when is the right time to fully adapt online education on a long term basis?


Abbassi, R and Asadnia, M and Salehi, F and Garaniya, V, Impact of COVID-19 on introductory engineering units: when is the right time to fully adapt online education on a long term basis?, Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2020), 6-9 December 2020, Virtual Conference, Online (Sydney, Australia), pp. 1-9. (2020) [Refereed Conference Paper]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Abbassi, R., Asadnia, M., Salehi, F., Garaniya, V assign to AAEE and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grant a non-exclusive licence to AAEE to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web (prime sites and mirrors), on Memory Sticks, and in printed form within the AAEE 2020 conference proceedings. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.

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Context: COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis that has affected every university around the globe. To join the national efforts for slowing community transmission of COVID-19, universities rapidly moved on-campus operations to online delivery. The pandemic circumstances caused particular complexity in teaching fundamental engineering units such as statics, dynamics, and fluid mechanics. Not being able to attend the classes for students potentially reduced engagement and carried a risk of students not having the opportunity to properly assimilate introductory engineering concepts.

Purpose: This paper acts to provide an understanding of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on students' performances in online classes of introductory engineering units. This study will assess the potential challenges in delivering these units online and how to consider online delivery as a more viable option for presenting these units in the future.

Approach: A carefully designed survey was used to analyse student performance in online units. Besides, direct interviews with lecturers and evaluation of the students' final assessment in cases of online and face-to-face teaching were considered.

Outcomes: Our study shows that the current format of presenting the online units reduced the students' engagement and led to student's anxiety and a lack of confidence. However, designing the unit deliveries and assessments, particularly for the online environments, may enhance the students learning and performance in the long term.

Conclusions: Designing the introductory engineering units for online delivery is an entirely different practice. The university lectures need to adopt the full capacity of state-of-the-art online technologies to reduce the anxiety and lack of confidence in university students. The lack of digital creative skills in the engineering education sector requires more professional development opportunities by universities to use introductory engineering units' online delivery.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:online delivery, introductory engineering units, educational success
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Engineering practice and education
Research Field:Engineering education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Higher education
UTAS Author:Garaniya, V (Associate Professor Vikram Garaniya)
ID Code:143246
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:NC Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics
Deposited On:2021-03-08
Last Modified:2021-06-18

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