Efficacy of Interactive Internet-Based Education in Structural Timber Design

Aaron B. Henson
Kenneth J. Fridley, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
David G. Pollock, George Fox University
C. Jayne Brahler, University of Dayton

Originally published in Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 91, Iss. 4, (Oct 2002): 371.

© 2002 American Society for Engineering Education


While traditional teaching methods (e.g., real-time, synchronous lectures) have proven effective for training future engineers, the Internet provides an avenue to reinforce the material and augment student learning, comprehension, and retention of material. This paper presents the integration and assessment of a library of interactive instructional modules specifically for a senior-level undergraduate elective course in civil engineering. An ongoing, comprehensive assessment process was implemented in the fall 1999 semester. The results of this quantitative assessment indicate that the use of well designed and pedagogically sound Internet-based supplemental modules provide students with a better understanding of course material. However, when Internet-based content does not promote critical thinking, little increase in the student performance and understanding of the material is realized. Interactive Web-based instruction should not be viewed as a "replacement'' to traditional instruction, but rather a tool that provides a broader and more dynamic environment for students with a variety of learning styles.