Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



American Society for Engineering Education

Source Publication

American Society for Engineering Education Conference

Source ISSN




How can we transition courses in one week, while maintaining a similar experience for students? This was probably the initial response by faculty across universities as they transitioned to remote learning, mid-semester, in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Our approach is supported by the ICAP framework which posits that “as activities move from passive to active to constructive to interactive, students undergo different knowledge-change processes and, as a result, learning will increase.” (Chi and Wylie, 2014)


How we could foster students’ interactions with course material, instructors, and their peers using collaborative technology and course activities? It was hypothesized that a collaborative environment, coupled with appropriately designed activities, would promote the interactive learning described by the ICAP framework.


Faculty members used Microsoft Teams (Teams) and Marquette University’s Learning Management System Desire2Learn (D2L) for their courses. Each instructor developed student groups to promote peer and instructor engagement via the Teams channel function.


Initial results from Likert 5-point scale responses support three positive findings to this approach:

  • Finding 1 (Instructor Engagement and Student Confidence): Students had a positive reaction to the instructor engagement (4.67 ± 0.6) and student confidence (4.07 ± 1.1).
  • Finding 2 (Consistent Coursework): Students reported the amount of work in courses with the interactive tools was consistent (3.90 ± 1.2) with the in-class experience.
  • Finding 3 (Collaborative Technology): Using collaborative technology (3.84 ± 1.2) enabled the students to successfully interact with their peers.

The survey also provided data on opportunities for improvement for future on-line courses:

  • Opportunity 1 (Communication): Student communication (2.57 ± 1.5) is still a barrier with collaborative technology.
  • Opportunity 2 (On-line Format): Students also reported an overall dislike (2.44 ± 1.4) of the on-line learning format.


The use of Teams shows that instructor engagement contributes the most to the positive experiences for confidence, consistency, and use of collaborative technology. We believe there are opportunities to develop more advantages than traditional approaches and will provide students an easier transition to industry, which already use these remote communication tools.


Published version. Published as a part of the proceedings of the conference, American Society for Engineering Education Conference, 2020. Publisher link. © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Used with permission.

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