Two small enrollment engineering courses have been taught using the methodology of the Asynchronous Learning Environment, in which computer networking and conferencing capabilities are used to make student-instructor and student-student interaction more immediate. Included in the effort was the creation of all-electronic assignments, where homework posting, execution, reporting, submission, grading, and return were done with personal computers over the network. Asynchronous communication is clearly successful in extending office hours, which is especially important for freshmen. However, since the classes were small, critical mass could not be routinely achieved to facilitate intensive interchanges among students and instructors. Instead, it was found that asynchronous technology facilitated groups through exchange of materials as they completed their work and assembled their reports. Homework assignments can be done more efficiently in all-electronic format, provided file size and complexity are not great. Similarly grading of these assignments is easier electronically until monitor screen size curtails the grader's ability to scan the documents.
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