NDSU engineering adapts to remote courses

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Since the shift to remote course delivery, NDSU instructors have used their skills to ensure students get the high-quality education they need to become successful. In the College of Engineering, many professors are providing resources online and adapting hands-on lab courses using virtual tools.  

Jake Glower, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has a Bison Academy website where students can access lecture notes and homework for each of his classes. This site was in place before the shift to remote course delivery, but since spring break Glower has added more than 100 lecture videos to the site, with more coming. 

“In class, I would embellish, tell stories, and explain the material in the lecture notes as well as give in-class demonstrations,” Glower said. “With classes being remote, I've tried to make short videos explaining the concepts and ideas behind each day's lecture notes. Many of the derivations I leave to the reader—but add demonstrations instead.”

The lectures coincide with class notes and are structured similar to a regular, in-class lecture. Glower has found that students appreciate this format because they can watch and refer back to the videos any time. 

In addition to making additional course content available online, instructors are finding ways to adapt lab courses. 

Chad Ulven, associate professor of mechanical engineering, teaches a junior-level materials science and engineering lab. The lab is very hands-on and includes students getting to do material testing. 

“My lab instructors have been making videos of themselves performing the lab step-by-step just like the students would have done themselves,” Ulven said. “I've even had one of my undergraduate research assistants jump in and pretend as if she was the student in the lab as well to make it a little more interesting.”

The videos are posted for the students who then write observation reports, just as they would if they were on campus conducting the experiment themselves. Instructors of many other lab courses have students record themselves conducting lab exercises and turn them in online.