Lessons learned from a distance learning research methods course co-taught by Clemson, University of Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech

Amy E. Landis, Melissa M. Bilec, Leidy Klotz, Annie R. Pearce

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


A cross-institution research methods course was developed to provide students conducting thesis projects with an introduction to research development and many different types of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course draws on the experiences of a diverse group of young faculty to present students with a broad range of best practices and experiences in research methods. Unique to this distance-learning course is the incorporation of team-based active learning activities in every lecture. In this active learning course, students learn quantitative research methods by practicing the set of procedures in class. Students are expected to incorporate their research topics as examples throughout the class. Topics in research methods include: defining research problems, conducting a literature review, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, developing experimental designs, survey design, visual presentation of results, research ethics, and the process of writing a peer-reviewed journal article. The course culminates in students' research proposal. This paper discusses the lessons learned from a cross-institution course collaboration and presents the findings from student assessments and surveys. We discuss the effectiveness of the cross-university course on different types of students, from new to senior PhD students conducting thesis research to masters students conducting term projects on a wide range of civil, environmental, sustainability, and construction research topics. We also examine the effectiveness of distance active learning and peer-teaching during the course. Half of the students at the Pitt location are in their second or third year of graduate studies, and they take an active role in mentoring and teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Jun 26 2011Jun 29 2011


Other118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
CityVancouver, BC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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