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Navigating Engineering and Technology Education at the University Level: From Classroom to E-Learning

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Destiny Young
Destiny Younghttp://linktr.ee/youngdestinya
Destiny Young is a highly credentialed information technology professional with over 14 years of industry experience. An HND/BSc (Hons) in Computer Science graduate. He holds a Master of Technology degree in Information Technology from the prestigious University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a Distinction-grade MBA alumnus of Nexford University, Washington, DC, where he also obtained a First-class MSc degree in Digital Transformation. His professional development direction is in Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, and Business Intelligence. He is a member of the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria (CIA), the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), etc.

Navigating Engineering and Technology Education at the University Level: From Classroom to E-Learning

By: DESTINY YOUNG | IT Operations and Technology Infrastructure Engineer

Introduction

The landscape of education has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, with technology playing a pivotal role. As we transition from traditional face-to-face instruction to online learning, the field of engineering and technology education faces unique challenges. In this article, we delve into the journey from classroom-based teaching to e-learning, exploring the hurdles encountered and strategies to enhance the educational experience.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Online Education

The COVID-19 pandemic forced educational institutions worldwide to swiftly adapt to online formats. Engineering education, traditionally hands-on and design-oriented, encountered significant disruptions. Urgent planning was necessary to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on learning outcomes.

Challenges Faced

1. Logistical and Technical Issues

The abrupt shift to online instruction revealed logistical and technical challenges. Faculty members and students grappled with connectivity issues, software compatibility, and hardware limitations. Ensuring seamless access to learning materials became a priority.

2. Learning and Teaching Challenges

Online learning demanded adjustments from both educators and learners. Students reported difficulties in maintaining engagement during virtual classes. Zoom fatigue, lack of face-to-face interaction, and distractions at home affected the learning process.

3. Privacy and Security Concerns

The digital realm raised privacy and security questions. Safeguarding sensitive information, preventing unauthorized access, and ensuring data privacy became critical considerations.

4. Hands-On Training Gap

Engineering education relies heavily on practical experience. The sudden shift to online platforms left students yearning for hands-on training. Laboratories, workshops, and collaborative projects were no longer accessible.

Strategies for Enhancing Online Engineering Education

To address these challenges, stakeholders—students, faculty, and administration—must collaborate. Here are practical recommendations:

  1. Technology Integration: Invest in robust e-learning platforms, interactive tools, and virtual labs. Provide training to faculty and students on using these resources effectively.
  2. Engagement Strategies: Foster active participation through discussion forums, group projects, and peer collaboration. Encourage student interaction and create a sense of community.
  3. Assessment Methods: Explore innovative assessment techniques. While asynchronous exams may reduce cheating, open-book/open-note assessments can promote deeper understanding.
  4. Faculty Development: Support faculty in adapting to the online environment. Training sessions, peer mentoring, and sharing best practices can enhance teaching effectiveness.
  5. Student Support Services: Establish virtual counselling, academic advising, and technical support services. Address student concerns promptly.

Conclusion

As the pandemic persists, sharing experiences and best practices is crucial. By navigating the evolving landscape of engineering and technology education, we can ensure that students continue to receive quality learning experiences, whether in the classroom or online.

Remember, the journey from classroom to e-learning is not just about technology—it’s about empowering the next generation of engineers and problem solvers.


Citation: Asgari, S., Trajkovic, J., Rahmani, M., Zhang, W., Lo, R. C., & Sciortino, A. (2021). An observational study of engineering online education during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE, 16(4), e02500411


Destiny Young
Destiny Young is a highly credentialed information technology professional with over 14 years of industry experience. An HND/BSc (Hons) in Computer Science graduate. He holds a Master of Technology degree in Information Technology from the prestigious University of South Africa (UNISA). He is a Distinction-grade MBA alumnus of Nexford University, Washington, DC, where he also obtained a First-class MSc degree in Digital Transformation. His professional development direction is in Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, and Business Intelligence. He is a member of the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute of Administration of Nigeria (CIA), the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), etc.
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