Abstract

Higher education has been crucially impacted by the pandemic during the past years. Despite the associated challenges, a wide portfolio of digital literacies has been developed for the delegates. This work evaluates the introduction of digital tools into in-person education. The “Process Optimization” course at Mälardalen University is reformed to operate in a digitally enhanced classroom mode. The course covers a variety of optimization methods applied on thermal and fluid machinery such as systems of compressors, pumps and heat exchangers, heat and power plants, aircraft trajectories and propulsion systems. The constructive alignment is presented to illustrate links between learning objectives, learning activities, and assessment tasks. A series of digital tools is introduced to elevate learning experience prior, during, and after class time. Those comprise digital quizzes, a video channel, polls, a digital whiteboard, and a digital forum. The course is systematically instrumented, yielding a vast set of statistics for evaluating the effectiveness of digital tools as well as engagement levels for learners. The contribution of digitalization into standardizing the formative and summative assessment is discussed. It is observed that digital tools complement the participation into pre- and post-classroom activities. An interactive and digitalized course evaluation activity is also designed. This allowed learners and educators to productively exchange feedback in an inclusive manner. The accrued data provides insight into the impact of digitalization on the delivery of an applied engineering course. Lessons learnt comprise quantitative and qualitative outcomes arising from the perspectives of both learners and teachers. Guidelines and recommended practices are provided for the penetration of digital tools into synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. This paper identifies opportunities as well as space for improvement arising from the penetration of digital tools into the new era for education.

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