Integrating Emerging Topics and Distance Learners through Online team design in a Communications Networks Course

Jana Reisslein, Patrick Seeling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An important challenge in the introductory communication networks<br>course in electrical and computer engineering curricula is to integrate<br>emerging topics, such as wireless Internet access and network security,<br>into the already content-intensive course. At the same time it is<br>essential to provide students with experiences in online collaboration,<br>which is common in the engineering workplace, and to allow both on-campus<br>and distance learning students to actively and jointly participate<br>in class activities in hybrid on-campus/distance education course<br>offerings. To address these challenges in the introductory communication<br>networks course at Arizona State University, the authors have developed<br>an online team design project in which students collaborate via a<br>team website on a design project related to an emerging communication<br>networks topic. The online team design project was evaluated with<br>a thematic analysis of the interactions on the team websites, topic-specific<br>pre- and posttests, and an attitudinal student survey. It was found<br>that the online team communication was to a large extent devoted<br>to managing the team and the project and that the students had overall<br>very positive attitudes toward the project. Both students with lower<br>and higher levels of prior project-related knowledge achieved approximately<br>the same learning gain in terms of increased scores from pretest<br>to posttest in the project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145–160
JournalThe Internet and Higher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


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