Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference

Document Type



In the late 1990s, the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) formulated a teaching model which guided the training of new faculty. The model served faculty well as they provided instruction and developed learning activities. The model remained unchanged for about 15 years until a team of faculty conducted a methodical review of the literature, reflected on desired outcomes, and deliberated about the role that this model played in achieving the institution and department’s mission and vision. The result was an updated teaching and learning model which was presented at the ASEE National Convention in 2017. As was emphasized in a previous paper, the faculty believed strongly that the teaching and learning model be viewed as a living document that must be applied and regularly challenged, discussed, and updated to ensure it remained relevant.

When the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, the institution, which had very limited experience providing online instruction, sent students home, and switched to delivering fully remote courses within less than one week. Like most other academic institutions, this was a significant shock to the teaching and learning environment; faculty rapidly learned new tools and tried new techniques to teach, engage, and interact with students. After the semester ended, the department formed teams of faculty to devote a portion of the summer to gathering lessons learned from the spring term, examining the literature about online education, and providing recommendations for the fall term. These activities led to discussions about how well the existing teaching and learning model applied to the vastly different environment of online versus in-person education. This inspired the faculty to a thorough examination of the living document.

During the subsequent fall term, formal faculty discussions about the model were facilitated. Topics from these discussions were grouped as follows: (1) aspects of the model that can be applied unchanged in the online environment, (2) aspects of the model that are difficult or impossible to apply in the online environment, and (3) ideas that need to be included in the model to support the online environment. The discussions included topics unrelated to the online environment, highlighting important aspects of the model that deserve additional consideration. Results from these faculty discussions will inform a team of faculty that will develop an updated version of the model in the summer of 2021.

This work in progress paper summarizes the results from the discussions, highlights preliminary conclusions, and describes future work. This will be of interest to any engineering educator interested in developing and using a teaching and learning model as a guidepost for themselves or their department. This will also be of interest to educators desiring a better understanding of the similarities and differences between in-person and remote teaching

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