Universities in the U.S. typically offer to teach introductory engineering courses in large classes to tackle the increase in undergraduate engineering enrolment and to save on cost of teaching. Previous studies done on traditionally taught large classes have shown the negative effects it has on students and faculty. Many institutions use online courses to teach these large classes due to the flexibility they provide students with in their schedule and pace of learning, as well as being less expensive for the university. This study aimed to investigate the effect of online pedagogy on the academic performance of students enrolled in mechanics of materials course taught at a U.S. Midwestern University. The findings of the study reveal that the online pedagogy had a negative effect on student academic performance when compared with the traditionally taught group. This was true for all demographics (gender, enrolment status, nationality) and categories (high, medium and low academic performance) of students except for high performing students for whom online pedagogy shows promise.
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