As universities are increasingly embracing distance education technology, it is useful to examine the challenges and opportunities of technology in the classroom. This is especially true when the course contains on-campus local students in addition to students learning at a distance. A significant challenge commonly faced is how to remain flexible in presenting course materials while still having notes and other handouts in electronic format available before the lecture. Other challenges include creating and using lecture material that can be viewed at low resolution and low bandwidth, and getting distance students to interact with the instructor, on-campus students, and fellow distance students. Technical challenges include having the proper recording facilities, resolution of the video, clarity of the audio, and syncing of the video and audio for those distance students participating in the live lectures.

Fortunately, benefits and opportunities do exist for developing distance education programs, beyond increasing student enrollment. Distance students often bring valuable insight and practical “real world” experience to the classroom discussions. The challenge, of course, both from an organizational and technical perspective, is how to incorporate this experience into the classroom environment. In this paper the authors draw upon their years of experience teaching distance education, educational research, and survey results to highlight the main issues that need to be considered in instructing hybrid class rooms, while suggesting some strategies to be incorporated into the engineering classroom. The development of techniques that can be used to facilitate the education of distance students, without taking away from the quality of the on-campus educational experience, is also a critical concern.

Meeting Name

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, "Engineering Researchs New Heights" (2004: Jun. 20-23, Salt Lake City, UT)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Asynchronus learning; Infrastructure; Instructors; Bandwidth; Engineering research; Information dissemination; Intranets; Logistics; Students; Technical presentations; Distance education

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2004 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.