Online forums : a tool to enhance experimental engineering laboratories

Muñoz-Escalona, Patricia and McLaren, Andrew (2017) Online forums : a tool to enhance experimental engineering laboratories. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education. ISSN 0306-4190 (

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Asynchronous discussion forums were implemented as an e-learning tool to enhance the teaching of principles in materials science for first year undergraduate students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Time in the laboratory is restricted and therefore only one experiment can be achieved in the class. Asynchronous discussion forums were used as means of enhancing content, extending student participation and facilitating student discussion subsequent to the laboratory session. From online feedback surveys, conducted at different stages throughout the class, results showed 60% of the students had never used online forums before, 96% of the students engaged in the activity and 80% of the students agreed that online forums are an alternative platform to use to discuss and compare results when time in the laboratory is restricted. The implementations of asynchronous discussion forum encouraged students to conduct deep learning in order to enhance the discussion thread they were involved.