Multiple Learning Strategies and Assessments used in an Online Technology, Society & Ethics Course

  • Byron Garry (South Dakota State University)


The author of this article has taught Electronics Engineering Technology courses for 20+ years, mostly in a classroom face-to-face setting. The assessment of student learning depends mostly on the evaluation of how well the students have learned the theory-based, numerically-involved, and hands-on applications of each course’s content. For the past three summers, the author has also taught an on-line course entitled Technology, Society & Ethics. This kind of course calls for an emphasis on discussion and student writing, which requires a very different style of teaching and assessment than the instructor had used in the past. As a preparation for teaching the course for the first time, the learning outcomes of the course were developed before the specific teaching style and assessment process were chosen. Suskie1 says that for good assessment, the instructor at the start needs to “develop clearly articulated written statements of expected learning outcomes”, that is, what will the students know and be able to do by the end of the course.

For the course, the Student Learning Outcomes statements must meet the requirements of three different entities: ABET, the university’s General Education requirements, and the student evaluation of teaching process the university uses, which comes from the IDEA Center2. The IDEA Center has developed a list of twelve Learning Objectives (‘Objective’ as used by IDEA means the same as ‘Outcome’) that the course instructor can choose from, as the focus of the student’s evaluation of the learning the students achieved in the course. The course instructor chose three objectives to focus on: Learning how to find and use resources for answering questions or solving problems; Developing a clearer understanding of, and a commitment to, personal values; and Acquiring an interest in learning more by asking my own questions and seeking answers. Educational research highlighted by the IDEA Center and others show that multiple learning strategies can engage students in a wide variety of ways and provide learning opportunities for many types of learners, in order to help them reach the learning objectives chosen for the course.

The different strategies that the course instructor has used are: textbook readings, posting PowerPoints outlining the course topics, short video presentations on the course topics, student-to-student and student-to-instructor discussion postings using the online course management system (D2L), live Collaborate (online, interactive voice) discussion sessions, three rounds of writing and feedback on a research paper on a specific topic, individual reviews of the course topics, and individual reviews of TED Talks. Some learning strategies have worked well, some have not, as measured by informal and formal student feedback. The paper will review the course assessment results, including student evaluation of teaching scores.

How to Cite:

Garry, B., (2014) “Multiple Learning Strategies and Assessments used in an Online Technology, Society & Ethics Course”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-11. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Byron Garry

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed