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Assessment of Instructional Modalities For An Electromagnetics Course
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the conventional approach of face-to-face instruction and necessitated alternative approaches for engineering education. The pandemic has also fostered and expanded certain instructional modalities, for example, the online approach for engineering education. This public health crisis has inadvertently provided a fitting opportunity for comparing the effectiveness of the traditional face-to-face modality to that of the online approach in some of our engineering courses. We investigated the effectiveness of these two modalities conducted in our junior level electromagnetics course, which is a core course in our electrical engineering curriculum. The course was offered as a face-to-face course in spring 2019, as a partially face-to-face and partially online course in spring 2020, and as a completely online course in spring 2021. The learning objectives, topics, and course load remained essentially the same in those three years. But the mode of delivery and the associated management of the courses were different. Evaluations were conducted in those three offerings. A focus of the evaluation was in the effectiveness of instruction. The indicators of the effectiveness include 1) communication of ideas and information effectively, 2) explanation of complex concepts and ideas clearly, 3) stimulation of critical and creative thinking, 4) well-organized and provided a framework conducive to learning, and 5) whether the course was set in high standards and challenging. The results were reviewed and analyzed. Our finding was that there were no significant difference in the effectiveness of instruction in those three years based on the data collected for the five indicators. In the paper, we will describe the face-to-face and online modalities used in the same course, present the analysis, and offer insights into the findings.