The fast growth of technology and internet in the last decade has built the necessary infrastructure for distance learning, and made the rapid transition to online teaching possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still a lot of uncertainties about the impact of distance learning on students’ learning effectiveness in engineering education. This paper presents the survey results about distance learning in a Civil Engineering course during the COVID-19 lockdown period and is aimed at understanding students’ challenges and preferences in distance learning. The survey results reflect the students’ perspective on online learning and provide an insight into students’ feedback on the quick online transition due to the campus closure. The students’ challenges in synchronous distance learning are identified and the strategies to improve distance learning effectiveness are proposed according to the survey results. A follow-up study was conducted in the Fall 2020 to address one of the students’ challenges related to teamwork and peer collaboration in a group project. The survey results were analyzed and discussed to provide recommendations to improve students’ learning effectiveness in distance learning during the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as for many years to come.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



© American Society for Engineering Education, 2021

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CET)


RIT – Main Campus