Impact of Online Worksheets Versus In-class Printed Worksheets on Students’ Learning Outcomes and Content Mastery

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology


Developing problem solving skills and engaging students in critical thinking are essential parts of engineering and engineering technology courses which require high levels of interaction between students and instructors. This highly interactive nature of engineering/engineering technology courses makes teaching these courses in an online format challenging for educators. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online delivery of courses has become an essential skill for engineering/engineering technology instructors. Online teaching is now a necessity, not an option. In a face to face engineering/engineering technology course, inquiry based tools such as worksheets are shown to be effective in keeping students engaged and helping them develop essential problem-solving skills. In class worksheets also provide a real-time assessment tool for the instructor to determine content mastery by the students and also to establish and appropriate pace for the class. To keep online engineering/engineering technology courses as effective and interactive as possible, in class worksheets can be modified as an online assignment. This study aims to evaluate the distinction in successfully attaining learning outcomes by students when exercising online worksheets versus in class printed worksheets, which is a first step in examining the impact of online versus face to face delivery in engineering/engineering technology courses. Our hypothesis is that exercising online versus in class printed worksheet impacts the successful attainment of the learning outcomes.

The data were collected in a Digital/Microprocessor Basics course (EET2141) which is a part of a 4-year electrical engineering technology degree program at Michigan Technological University. This study reports on the comparison of students’ attainment of learning outcomes and content mastery in EET2141 between two groups of students. The first group of students attended EET2141 in the Fall 2019 and were given real-world problems to solve in the form of printed inquiry-based worksheets at the end of every class session. The printed worksheets were related to the same day’s lecture material and were collected at the end of the class period. The second group of students attended EET2141 in the Fall 2020 and after each face to face session they were assigned to find the same worksheets online (in the Canvas Learning Management System) and submit them online. The recitation sessions for both groups were held face to face in order to evaluate the absolute impact of physical and online worksheets between the two groups.

A list of learning objectives for EET2141 is included in this paper and students content mastery on each objective is assessed using their average performance in related homework assignments, exams and labs. To evaluate the difference between the effectiveness of the online worksheets versus in-class printed worksheets on students’ learning outcomes for each objective, the class average grade and the distribution of the grades in all assignments related to the objective is statistically compared and reported. A student survey on printed and online worksheets is also included in this study.

Publication Title

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access