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A hybrid Mechanics of Materials course consisting of recorded lecture videos and face-to-face class meetings was developed. Initial offerings of the hybrid course resulted in a drop in average student performance by – 0.18 grade points as well as a reduction in the student pass rate of 3%. Over time, average student performance in the course improved; however, the student pass rate remained relatively constant. A number of ad hoc internal studies by the hybrid course instructors were conducted to attempt to determine the factors contributing to the reduction in the student pass rate. A test over prerequisite Statics and Calculus material was developed and incorporated into the course in order to gauge incoming student capability and knowledge. Results of this pre-test provided a baseline measure so that the effect of various changes to the hybrid course could be objectively measured independent of differences in student capability. Internal studies suggested that a lack of student engagement as manifested by poor attendance in face-to-face class attendance contributed to poor performance and reduced student retention. The hybrid course policy was changed by incorporating a one letter grade penalty for students who did not have good attendance. This resulted in an improvement in average performance by 0.18 grade points and an increase in student retention by 12.5% compared to the optional-attendance hybrid course.




South Dakota State University


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2020. Posted with permission.


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