Atul Kelkar, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, says Abdeljawad has wholeheartedly embraced the challenge of online teaching: “Dr. Abdeljawad has done an excellent job of making the transition as seamless as possible for his students.”
Trevor Newman, a sophomore, logs in from a picnic table in West Union, South Carolina, where he and his family are staying. He describes Abdeljawad as a teacher who is passionate about mechanical engineering.
“His online class is the closest experience to being physically in the classroom without actually being there,” Newman says. “Dr. Fadi has made the transition easier by communicating effectively about what changes were being made and making sure everything was working for his students.”
Abdeljawad, or “Dr. Fadi” to his students, teaches mechanics of materials (ME 2040), a foundational course for mechanical engineering majors. He decided early on that he was going to continue to hold class live at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the same as before the outbreak.
“Self-control and time management are key to working from home,” Abdeljawad says. “They are not part of the curriculum for most students. I thought if I were to just record all the lectures and let them watch later, it would be a disadvantage to some students. So I decided to keep it live.”
Tanner Muennich, a sophomore who logs in to class from his Clemson apartment, says that live classes allow Abdeljawad to maintain participation.
“You can ask questions whenever you need to,” Muennich says. “It also helps you stay more focused. When you’re in your house or apartment, there are a lot more distractions than in the classroom, and it can be easy to zone out. But knowing that he could call on you makes you pay attention just a little more.”
Sarah Johnson, a sophomore, logs in to the lectures from Jackson, Mississippi, where she is joining her sister in helping relatives, a nurse and a doctor, take care of their two children, who are 2 years old and 6 months old.
“It’s different because, yes, we’re watching it on a laptop, but he is still as equally as excited,” Johnson says. “Overall, it hasn’t been a complete change because he’s doing it exactly as if we were sitting right in front of him.”
Abdeljawad laid the groundwork for the transition long before COVID-19 forced quarantines to prevent its spread. When he first began teaching at Clemson in August 2018, he put his notes into PowerPoint slides to make them easier to share with students. He also typed up the 14 homework assignments that students do each semester, along with the solution keys.