Document Type


Publication Date

June 2000

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference

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Curriculum and Instruction | Engineering | Engineering Education | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine


The current paper describes the design, development, and evaluation of self-paced multimedia modules that are used in an advanced General Education course at San Jose State University. The design and development cycle of these modules began in 1994 and continues to this date. The General Education course, Technology and Civilization (TECH 198), is designed to introduce students to the realm of history and usage of technology in society and to increase their awareness of both the uncertainties as well as the promises of the utilization of technology as a creative human enterprise. During the summer session 1999, the completed modules were field-tested in one section of the class with fourteen students. The students were randomly assigned to two groups: group 1 completed the multimedia module on Unit 1 (The Nature of Science and Technology) and group 2 completed the multimedia module on Unit 2 (Technology and Work). When comparing performance on pre-test and post-test measures, this study produced inconsistent results. For Unit 1, there was no difference in student performance when comparing the multimedia-based instruction with the traditional classroom instruction. In fact, the students taking the multimedia-based instruction for Unit 1 did significantly worse on the posttest (t = 2.457, p = 0.022) than those students in the traditional classroom. The results from Unit 2 differ from those of Unit 1. For Unit 2, both groups had significantly higher scores on the posttest than on the pretest. Also, Group 2 performed better overall on the posttest than did Group 1 although the difference was much less than the difference for Unit 1 (Group 1 Mean = 7.7 and Group 2 Mean = 8.4). This result would indicate that, for Unit 2 at least, the instruction by self-paced multimedia was as good as the "traditional" classroom instruction.


© 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. This article originally appeared in the proceedings of the 2000 ASEE Annual Conference, and can also be found online at this link.