Session M1A – Implementations of PBL               
Session Chair – Alex Stojcevski, Victoria University
Monday 11:00 – 12:30          Jucarra Room

 

M1A1 Civil Engineering Education of the Future
Roger Hadgraft and David Smith; The University of Melbourne

This paper uses the latest Body of Knowledge specification (BOK2) from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as inspiration for a substantially project-based civil engineering curriculum. It demonstrates that a series of carefully chosen projects, combined with modules of learning materials, will meet the BOK2 guidelines. This approach also allows the productive use of online learning materials for new technical topics.

Go to top

 

M1A2 Using Real Industry Problems to Engage PBL Students
Alec Simcock, Juan Shi and Richard Thorn; Victoria University

PBL is a mode of program delivery which requires substantial effort and commitment to ensure students develop communication and professional skills along with their technical competencies. PBL curriculum design is very important as it ensures the characteristics of PBL are fully utilised to achieve the desired learning outcomes and satisfy the graduate attributes of both Victoria University (VU) and Engineers Australia (EA).  Externally sourced problems have been used in the second semester of the second year program in the School of Electrical Engineering to ensure students satisfy EA Stage 1 Competency Standards and fulfil the learning in the workplace commitment of VU. This paper describes how problems from industry (and community organisations) were used to engage students and introduce them to project management, client negotiation and specification writing. The enthusiasm of the students and friendly, collaborative interactions with the external clients resulted in outcomes that exceeded our most optimistic expectations.

Go to top

 

M1A3 Harmony in Engineering Curricula: Striking a Balance between Traditional, PBL and WIL Approaches to Learning and Teaching
Natalie Gamble, Carol-joy Patrick, Rodney Stewart and Charles Lemckert; Griffith University

Traditional classroom-based teaching, problem-based learning (PBL) and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) are three commonly utilised approaches to Learning & Teaching (L&T) in universities. All these approaches have their place in engineering education, but it is important to recognise the advantages and disadvantages associated with each. As contemporary learning approaches grow in popularity in engineering curricula, it is critical for academic staff to ensure they strike a balance between providing students with the theoretical/conceptual knowledge they require for problem-solving, and the hands-on experience they need to ensure they are suitably educated and employable when they graduate. This paper provides an overview of Griffith University’s revised Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) program, and demonstrates how academic staff at Griffith University have been striving to strike a balance between the provision of fundamental engineering knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge through a tiered approach to L&T. Students are progressively introduced to PBL, beginning in first year with case studies and small group tasks, and culminating in the final year with a capstone PBL subject as well as an independent WIL exercise that integrates their learning from preceding years.

Go to top

 

M1A4 A Hybrid Just-in-Time / Project-Based Learning Approach to Engineering Education
Holger Maier; The University of Adelaide

This paper introduces a hybrid Just-in-Time-Teaching (JiTT)/ Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach to ensure students are immersed in an active learning environment that enables them to achieve higher-order learning outcomes, while having a support structure that provides fundamental information in an engaging and efficient manner.  The approach is illustrated for the level 2 course Water Engineering IIS2 in the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide.  Surveys show that 85% of the students think that the hybrid JiTT/PBL approach is more conducive to learning than more traditional teaching formats. 

Go to top

 

M1A5 The Development of a Problem-Based Learning and Teaching Strategy in an Aviation-Related Project at the Australian Defence Force Academy
Raymond Lewis and Michael Harrap; UNSW@ADFA

Compared to the seven other Australian Universities that offer an Aviation degree, the aviation-related project is a major component of the Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) degree program curriculum at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy.  This paper describes the aviation-related project as a case study in the strategy of problem-based learning and teaching.  Since the inception of the degree the project has evolved and expanded.  This process has placed greater expectations on the learning outcomes of students which some students have had difficulty in fulfilling.  Coursework has been introduced to ameliorate some of the perceived shortcomings of the aviation-related problem-based learning project. This paper describes an evaluation of the aviation project based on student learning and student self-assessment.

 

Session M1B – First Year
Session Chair – Rebecca Baylis, The University of Adelaide
Monday 11:00 – 12:30          Golden Cane Room

 

M1B1 Sustainability of Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring Initiatives to Increase Student Engagement and Reduce Attrition
Elizabeth Godfrey; The University of Auckland

Student engagement and the need to reduce attrition are drivers for many first year support initiatives. It is recognised on exploring literature and even websites that many of these initiatives are short lived – often dependent on the enthusiasm, passion of one individual and affected by shifting priorities in funding distribution.  Adding to the body of knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, this paper reports on experiences with a student led peer-mentoring scheme and a staff led peer tutoring assistance centre. In the belief that these and other similar schemes are needed to enable talented students to reach their potential, and to maximise completion to graduation rates, recommendations to ensure their sustainability are offered.

Go to top

 

M1B2 The Role of CQUniversity’s Student Mentoring and Leadership Program in the Engineering Program During and Beyond University
Gemma Mann and Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity

Mentoring is an integral part of producing “advanced engineering capability”.  Being a mentor during the engineering undergraduate course is a good way to learn about effective mentoring and to develop professional and transferable skills to take into engineering practice.  The CQUniversity student mentor program provides a structured setting to obtain guidance as a mentor and to provide access to relevant professional development.  The cycle of mentee to mentor to mentor to mentee gives practice in the process to create a successful and efficient balance between learner and leader.  Further, the role that mentors can play in developing a mentee’s professional identity as an engineer is vital and currently being investigated.

Go to top

 

M1B3 Engaging and Supporting Students in the New Common First Year Engineering Program at UniSA
Syed Mahfuzul Aziz; The University of South Australia

UniSA has introduced a common first year program for all of its undergraduate engineering degrees from 2008. The common first year program aims to provide students with a foundation in multidisciplinary areas of engineering. To a large extent it is a strategic response to increasing competition for local and international students. A key element of the common first year program is to engage students in professional practice right from the beginning. The new program provides opportunity for students demonstrating high performance in the first year to pursue an accelerated three-year pathway to degree completion. This will reduce cost to students, shorten the time to market graduates and potentially assist in overcoming the shortage of engineers. A team-based approach has been adopted across UniSA’s Division of IT, Engineering and the Environment for developing teaching and learning and student support strategies in the common first year. This paper presents some of these strategies and the initial experience gained, as there appears to be a great deal of interest about the first year engineering programs in Australian Universities.

Go to top

 

M1B4 Engaging Students in their Education:  Making a Strong First Impression with Engineering 101
Billy O'Steen, Conan Fee and Richard Jordan; University of Canterbury

In an effort to more fully engage first year engineering students at the University of Canterbury, Engineering 101 was designed as an interactive course and implemented in 2007.  During that first implementation, data was collected from students and instructors and analysed with particular emphasis on discovering if and how an Inquiry-Based Learning approach was used.  The findings from research on the 2007 and 2008 iterations of the course suggest that it is achieving the outcomes envisioned by its designers.

Go to top

 

M1B5 Driving Workplace Learning Opportunities for Secondary and Tertiary Students in the Medical Technology Industry
Fiona Shipman and Anne Trimmer; Medical Technology Association of Australia

Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) is the national peak industry body representing companies in the medical technology industry.  MTAA recognises the need to expose students to the many career opportunities available to them through workplace learning programs.  To support students identify meaningful work placements, the MTAA established a Medical Technology Industry Workplace Learning Directory. 

Go to top

 

Session M1C – Professional Skills       
Session Chair – Fae Martin, CQUniversity
11:00 – 12:30          Alexander Room

 

M1C1 Developing Professional Practice Skills Through Reflection on Experience
Prue Howard; CQUniversity

The Bachelor of Engineering program at Central Queensland University has evolved through a number of innovations over 15 years into the unique dual award program of the Bachelor of Engineering (Co-op)/Diploma of Professional Practice.  This program is unique in that it includes co-operative education, Project Based Learning (PBL) (in on campus and external modes) and an explicit development of professional practice skills through the Diploma of Professional Practice. This development started in 1994 with the introduction of co-operative education, giving the students two placements of six months each during their study.  To help prepare students to be junior professionals at the end of their second year of study, a PBL philosophy, with a partially inverted curriculum was introduced in 1998.  Recognition that learning from the work placements would need to be made explicit was addressed by the introduction of the Diploma of Professional Practice in 2004.  All the courses in the Diploma are based on reflective practice, and are aimed at developing professional practice skills that are an outcome of the work placements
The combined program is designed around the triple themes of intellectual, social and professional development. The result is that students are able to articulate their learning, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses in these areas at any stage in their program of study.

Go to top

 

M1C2 The Use of Self Tracking Skill Matrix to Encourage Student Centred Learning
Mushtak Al-Atabi; Taylor’s University College

This paper describes the use of skill matrix to assist the students in tracking and documenting how did they meet the course objectives of first year Mechanical Engineering module “Engineering Design and Professional Skills”. The use of this matrix provided both the instructor and the students with an early detection method to detect any problem in achieving any of the course outcomes allowing a quick remedy. Furthermore, it provided the students with an opportunity to reflect on each course outcome and how does it develop in relation to other course outcomes. This allowed better appreciation of these course outcomes by the students and encouraged them to assume ownership of their learning process. This matrix can easily be generalised and exported to other modules and it can prove to be a valuable tool in demonstrating the achievement of course and programme outcomes.

Go to top

 

M1C3 Development of a New Foundation Unit in Engineering
Graham Town and Daniel McGill; Macquarie University

We present our experiences in the design and delivery of a foundation unit for first-year students in electronic engineering and related specialisations. The aim of the unit was to provide engineering students with foundation skills for their subsequent engineering studies, with an emphasis on communication skills, working in groups, and design. The unit development process commenced as part of a project to introduce engineering academics to problem-based learning, with the development of the foundation unit set as a workshop project. The project had limited success in the latter context, however the resulting foundation unit proved very popular with most students.

Go to top


M1C4 A Tool to Help Students Manage Study Time 
Mark Thiele; Charles Darwin University

An Excel-based student organisational study tool was introduced to first-year undergraduate engineering and information technology students at Charles Darwin University, in order to improve student time-management, productivity and ultimately retention.  Student perceptions of its effectiveness were independently monitored through the use of surveys and question-and-answer sessions.  Limited data is available at the time of writing and will be released in the future.

Go to top

 

M1C5 Reflecting on Reflection – 10 Years, Engineering, and UQ 
Lydia Kavanagh and Liza O'Moore

After ten years of including reflection within the engineering undergraduate curriculum at the University of Queensland, it is time to reflect on reflection.  An investigation of current practices shows that reflection has been embedded into a number of courses across the program in diverse ways.  Analysis of these reflections shows successful meta-learning and introduction to reflexive practices for the students, and insights into student performance and delivery method success for teaching academics.  The challenge today, is to incorporate reflective practice more systematically into the undergraduate curriculum, and for academics to lead by example.

 

Session M2A – Educational Research Methods A
Session Chair – Anna Carew, The University of Tasmania
13:30 – 15:00          Jucarra Room

 

M2A1 Beyond The Engineering Pedagogy: Engineering The Pedagogy, The Game of Experiential Learning
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard; Loughborough University

Modern constructivist pedagogical research emphasizes developing student-centred educational practices. This requires students to do extra effort and they should be equipped with the motivation to conduct such extra work load. However, the situation is dilemmatic since many students (in particular, undergraduates) tend to do their studies with the minimum effort needed to reach their goals. In this paper we analyse this dilemma from the game theory perspective, where we try to find conditions where students are willing to voluntarily take extra course work. We model the strategic interaction between the student and the teacher by a 2x2 non cooperative game. We suggest a mechanism for transferring the game equilibrium into the desired one, i.e. experiential learning equilibrium. We also show an experiment for identifying the energy needed to shift the equilibrium towards the desired one. The paper presents one of the very few game theoretical models that were developed in pedagogical research.

Go to top

 

M2A2 Improving Learning in Engineering Mechanics: The Significance of Understanding
Thomas Goldfinch and Timothy McCarthy; University of Wollongong
Anna Carew; The University of Tasmania

Mechanics is a key foundation topic for many engineering disciplines, the study of which usually constitutes a significant proportion of first and second year engineering undergraduate studies. Many engineering students experience substantial difficulties with introductory mechanics, and it is widely noted in the literature that pass rates in mechanics courses tend to be unacceptably low. This paper details the interim findings of, and issues arising from a literature search focusing on how engineering educators understand, describe, identify and deal with the causes of poor performance in introductory mechanics. The most striking conclusion drawn from this literature search is the lack of conclusive research into the more fundamental causes of difficulties for students studying mechanics.

Go to top

 

M2A3 Beyond The Engineering Pedagogy: Engineering The Pedagogy, Modelling Kolb’s Learning Cycle
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard; Loughborough University

Experiential Learning is a modern radical approach of conducting education. Kolb’s four stages experiential learning model have been well received since it was proposed during mid 1980’s. In this paper, we approach the analysis of Kolb’s Cycle from an engineering point of view, where we develop a mathematical model of the learning curve when Kolb’s experiential learning cycle is use. Furthermore, we analyse the characteristics of the derived model for example, learning stability and learning robustness. We conclude with set of important characteristics of Kolb’s cycle that we could clearly explore after utilizing the control engineering tools. The most important characters are accommodating the uncertainties of the students learning ability. This paper is one of the few trials traced in the pedagogical literature where control engineering methods are applied for studying pedagogical process.

Go to top

 

M2A4 Professional Development at University: Student Perceptions of Professional Engineering Practice 
Vinay Domal, Brad Stappenbelt and James Trevelyan; The University of Western Australia

This study examined student perceptions regarding professional engineering practice. We surveyed secondary school students attending engineering camps, engineering students in their first and fourth years, graduate engineers and experienced engineers to ascertain their impressions about what constitutes the daily activities of a professional engineer. We asked respondents to rate 39 aspects of engineering practice identified from the research later reported in (Trevelyan 2008). These aspects were rated by the participants according to their perception of the importance and the frequency encountered in engineering practice. We also asked where the participants learned or where they believed they were going to learn how to perform the various tasks associated with these aspects. We grouped the aspects into six functional themes; technical skills, technical knowledge, management, teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills. We found that student perceptions of professional engineering practice changed significantly as they progressed from year ten, through first and onto fourth year engineering at university. Year ten students rated technical knowledge as highly important to engineering practice, with relatively low ratings given to the other five areas.  It may be argued that this corresponds reasonably with general public perception of professional engineering activity. First year engineering students realised the importance of communication and management skills in engineering practice. They believed that the university would assist them in developing these skills to the expectations of industry. As students progress through their degrees however, as judged from the perception of final year engineering students, it becomes clear that university fails in training them for industry requirements. This is particularly evident with regard to management skills where we can observe the greatest deviation between industry and student responses of relative importance. The findings indicate that most of these tasks are learned on the job and the university does not contribute significantly in training graduates to perform to the level of industry expectations. It is likely that student perceptions regarding professional engineering practice are reflective of the emphasis that is placed on the various aspects of their technical and non-technical development in the educational curriculum. This raises concerns regarding the alignment of the engineering curriculum to industry requirements. It appears that despite adherence to the accreditation requirements for the engineering degree, graduates are not being produced with the required or desired attributes.

Go to top

 

M2A5 Responsibility and Accountability
Paul Hector Elliott; AUT University

This paper is about addressing the fundamental issues of ‘responsibility and accountability’ in engineering education with regards to the cultural background and the aspects of teaching and learning of Pasifika students who have chosen the engineering pathway as a tool for economic benefits. Some of the fundamentals to name a few would include assisting teaching staff in tertiary institutions appreciate and understand the cultural backgrounds of the marginalized (Pasifika students), and for institutions to assist teaching staff in developing more culturally democratic learning environments for their students, through engaging culturally inclusive philosophies of teaching and learning.

Go to top

 

Session M2B – Work Integrated Learning
Session Chair – David Jorgensen, CQUniversity
13:30 – 15:00          Golden Cane Room

 

M2B1 Work Integrated Research Higher Degree Studies: Experiences, Benefits, Barriers and Coping Strategies
Le Chen, Rodney Stewart, Rachelle Willis and Tracy Britton; Griffith University

Attributed to the changing social, political and economic landscape of the ‘knowledge economy’, Australian universities are under pressure to produce researchers that have a variety of skills which meet the demands of an increasingly diverse job market. As a consequence, the Australian PhD now includes a range of doctoral degrees. This paper reports on the experiences of two PhD students engaged in an informally managed research higher degree program described in this paper as a Work Integrated Research Higher Degree (WIRHD). Their learning process shares the attributes from both the traditional PhD program and professional doctorates. However, because of the blended nature of the learning contexts, what students need to manage within the WIRHD is much more complicated than the established RHD programs. An exploratory case study approach exploring experiences, benefits, barriers and coping strategies was conducted with the view to develop a preliminary integrative framework that attempts to explain the various contexts that influence the learning experience of WIRHD candidates. The paper concludes with some recommended strategies for helping WIRHD candidates to manage the challenges associated with their learning process.

Go to top

 

M2B2 Articulation in Engineers Australia
Eric Hobson; Engineers Australia

The National Articulation Committee of Engineers Australia was set up in 2001 to assist Engineering Associates and Engineering Technologists with at least five years experience to achieve Stage 1 Competency for the categories of Engineering Technologist and Professional Engineer by means other than through completion of benchmark qualifications.  Access to an articulation process since 2001 has assisted some 100 Members of Engineers Australia to articulate to a different category, the majority becoming Professional Engineers.  More are in the pipeline.  The paper describes the historical development of articulation and details the processes in place.

Go to top

 

M2B3 Work Placement Reports: Student Perceptions
Mark Lay, Levinia Paku and Janis Swan; The University of Waikato

Engineering students complete work placement reports after being on placement in industry, the aim is to increase work place learning and to increase students understanding about the placement, themselves, career direction and skills obtained. Third and fourth year engineering students perceptions on their report writing experience, academic feedback quality, and the effect of completing work placement reports on their learning and report writing ability, were surveyed.  Third year students enjoyed the experience more than fourth year students and perceived greater benefits.  Fourth year student opinion was mixed, reflecting greater experience and cynicism.  Fourth year students rated feedback from academics higher than the third years, perhaps because their reports were more interesting for the academics.  The fourth year students were much more cynical on the benefits of reflecting and reviewing what they had learned, and many considered this not important for being an engineer.

Go to top


M2B4 Determining the Feasibility of a Medical Technology Industry Internship Scheme
Fiona Shipman and Anne Trimmer; Medical Technology Association of Australia

MTAA is the national peak industry body representing companies in the medical technology industry.  MTAA is determining the feasibility of establishing an internship program to support tertiary students enter the workforce.  With support from their university, this program aims to provide opportunities for students to complete an agreed project with an MTAA member host company. As a part of this process, a discussion forum was held in July to determine potential delivery models and requirements of host companies, interns, universities and MTAA.  This paper will detail the feasibility of preparing for an internship pilot scheme in 2009.

Go to top

 

M2B5 Adapting Project Based Learning to Distance Education – Case Studies
Remadevi Dhanasekar, Ian Devenish; CQUniversity

CQUniversity introduced Project based learning (PBL) courses for the undergraduate engineering degree programs with an objective of increasing students’ self-directed learning to enable them to gain deeper understanding of the course content through research, problem solving, investigative activities and design of projects.  These PBL courses have been offered in internal delivery mode and are now being made available in distance (FLEX) mode.   This paper provides case studies of two of the PBL courses including the mode of offering, content, assessment strategies and guiding steps for students to meet the learning outcomes of the courses in detail.

Go to top

Session M2C – Technology in Engineering Education
Session Chair – Amanullah Maung Than Oo, CQUniversity
13:30 – 15:00          Alexander Room

 

M2C1 Exploring the Basics with Circuit Simulation: Support for Self-Teaching of Electrical Engineering Fundamentals
George Banky; Swinburne University of Technology

Students enrolled in the first year electrical engineering subject at Swinburne University of Technology were encouraged to use an electronic circuit simulation software, Multisim 10 from National Instruments, for self-teaching while: (i) confirming any qualitatively predicted circuit behaviour, (ii) validating any quantitative results of problem-based activities and (iii) first predicting the cause, then verifying these predictions, for the behaviour of potentially faulty circuit components. The students’ exposure to this software was facilitated, not only by the mandatory purchase of a copy of the software, but by them being timetabled for all their tutorial sessions into a computer laboratory (rather than a conventional classroom) where under academic supervision they were able to work on desktop computers that had preinstalled copies of the said software. Analysis of two surveys and five post-event focus groups clearly revealed general learner acceptance for using the simulation software for self-teaching in both communal and private settings.

Go to top

 

M2C2 Improving Oral Presentation Skills of Engineering Students with the Virtual-i Presenter (ViP) Program
Thomas Cochrane and Michael O’Donoghue; University of Canterbury

The growing size of engineering classes is impacting on the ability for students to acquire oral presentation skills. A unique program called the Virtual-i Presenter (ViP) was developed to allow students to create, view, and evaluate oral presentations using a PC and webcam outside of class time. The program is simple to use and recreates how a student would deliver an oral presentation in class. ViP helps students improve their oral skills by permitting them to see and hear themselves, practice repeatedly, and obtain feedback from peers and academics through an inbuilt evaluation system upon submitting their final presentation. Selected parts of presentations can also be viewed and discussed in class to address technical merits and key presentation skills. Student surveys on using ViP showed presentations were practiced an average of 4 times and 63% of students preferred short ViP presentations to live ones.

Go to top

 

M2C3 Holistic Educational Development Integrated Through Mechatronics Design
Milan Simic and John Mo; RMIT University

This paper presents a method in educational development of resources and programs based on multidisciplinary approach. The development is built around the process of Mechatronics program introduction in tertiary education within RMIT University. Mechatronics itself is a multidisciplinary engineering area that incorporates mechanical, electrical, electronics, computer and information systems. Through mechatronics study students expand their knowledge of other systems and scientific areas. Exercising work integrated learning students are encouraged to obtain new knowledge and skills by doing the job, not just learning from the textbooks and attending lectures. Subject material is delivered in variety of ways, started with face-to-face delivery, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, but the key component of education is project work conducted in small teams. University conducts surveys after every single subject delivery and the results of the latest survey are presented here. According to that, students are extremely satisfied with the methods of delivery that includes problem solving, project and work integrated learning.

Go to top

 

M2C4 Using Tablet PCs for Laboratory Work in a Postgraduate Wireless Technology Subject
Kumbesan Sandrasegaran and Rachod Patachaianand; University of Technology, Sydney

In this paper, we present our experiences in a UTS LTPF and HP funded project to enhance the learning outcomes of postgraduate students in Engineering Courses at University of Technology Sydney. The intended impact is that it provides learning experiences that simulate authentic professional practice and address development of students’ technical knowledge acquisition and skills development, as well as broader professional skills such as teamwork, time management, ethics and communication; and engage students with new and emerging technologies. Learning activities were set up in 49048 Wireless Networking Technology in July 2007. The use of HP tablets in a mobile class room considerably assisted students in engaging with these new technologies and gaining valuable practical skills. Class surveys carried out in November 2007 indicate that vast majority of the students (more than 90%) agree that the lab activities helped them bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Go to top

 

M2C5 Increasing Student Engagement in Online Environments Using Multimedia Flash Presentations
Holger Maier; The University of Adelaide

This paper presents an approach to increasing student engagement in online environments using multimedia flash presentations.  Such presentations can be used to provide context to assist with student motivation (e.g. practical applications, news / current affairs, industry case studies), as well as an active learning environment, both of which are vital for student engagement, and hence student learning experiences and outcomes.  The approach is illustrated for the level 2 course Environmental Engineering II in the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide.  Surveys show that in excess of 80% of students believe the use of the flash presentations is more enjoyable and provides information in a more realistic context.

Go to top

Session M3A – PBL Innovations
Session Chair – Aliya Valiyff, The University of Adelaide
15:30 – 17:00          Jucarra Room

 

M3A1 Using Student Experience of Problem-Based Learning in Virtual Space to Drive Engineering Educational Pedagogy
Peter Gibbings; University of Southern Queensland

This paper reports outcomes of an investigation into the different ways students’ go about problem-based learning (PBL) in virtual space.  Five qualitatively different conceptions of PBL in virtual space were discovered, and each reveals variation in how students attend to learning by PBL in virtual space.  Results indicate that PBL in virtual space when appropriately designed with respect to students’ online learning experience can: 1) be responsible for making students aware of deeper ways of experiencing PBL in virtual space, and 2), engender graduate attributes and capabilities of problem solving, ability to transfer basic knowledge to real-life scenarios, ability to adapt to changes and apply knowledge in unusual situations, ability to think critically and creatively, and a commitment to continuous life-long learning and self-improvement.

Go to top

 

M3A2 Hardware-Based Engineering Problem Solving for On-campus and External Teams
David Buttsworth, Ray Malpress & Mark Phythian; University of Southern Queensland

We contend that engineering analysis and design will continue to rely on the synthesis of experimental observations and theoretical analyses.  For the past three years, we have been providing teams of on-campus and external students the opportunity to work with actual engineering hardware as a focus for engineering analysis and problem solving.  Providing external teams of student the opportunity to problem solve with actual engineering hardware represents a number of challenges.  By focusing on initial value problems and requiring the teams to specify the necessary parameters that they expect will achieve the desired system performance, we have been able to expose both on-campus and external teams to problem solving with physical systems and actual engineering hardware.

Go to top

 

M3A3 Problem Based Learning Applied to a New Unit of Study on Programmable Logic Design
David Wong, Keith Imrie and Yimin (Steven) Xie; Macquarie University

A problem-based-learning (PBL) approach has been used in the development of a new unit of study, ELEC241 Programmable Logic Design, in the Department of Electronic Engineering of Macquarie University. A major component of this unit is a team-based project to design and build a digital controller to control the traffic lights of a complex traffic intersection. The project supports the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) approach to engineering education that is being advocated by many university teaching-and-learning committees and educational/professional associations world-wide. The conceive, design, implement and operate stages of the project are described. Programmable logic devices (Generic Array Logic or Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) are used for the implementation of the controller. Notes on PBL issues are given.

Go to top

 

M3A4 Twenty-One Years of the Warman Design and Build Competition
Warren Smith; UNSW@ADFA

The Warman Design and Build Competition has been running across Australasian Universities for twenty-one years. Presented in this paper is a brief history of the competition, documenting the objectives, scenarios, key contributors and champion Universities since its beginning in 1988. Assuming the competition has reached the majority of mechanical and related discipline engineering students in that time, it is fair to say that this competition, as a vehicle of the National Committee on Engineering Design, has served to shape Australasian engineering education in an enduring way

Go to top

 

M3A5 Projects Discriminate Between Professional Engineering and Engineering Technology Courses 
Alec Simcock; Victoria University

The need to attract more students into engineering in general and the engineering courses at Victoria University (VU) in particular were some of the primary reasons for our change of teaching paradigm form traditional to Problem Based Learning. At the same time we decided to improve articulation between the TAFE and Higher Education sectors of VU by introducing an Engineering technology degree. This paper outlines some of the background to these changes and then illustrates, by the use of an example, how we are using projects as one of the features which discriminate between our professional engineering and our engineering technology course.

 

Session M3B – Diversity
Session Chair – Lyn Brodie, University of Southern Queensland
15:30 – 17:00          Golden Cane Room

 

M3B1 Does Parental Influence Hinder or Foster Students’ Academic Progress?
Ljiljana Jovanovic; AUT University

The Certificate in Health Studies AK3207 is a foundation programme offered by Foundation Studies at AUT University. This programme was established to assist students in developing academic literacy skills and gain entry into degree programmes. Transition from High School to University is usually associated with a high level of stress, and very often is anxiety-provoking. During that turbulent time family should offer individuals a constant secure base by providing a source of confidence that reduces or buffers stress. A group of 14 students, enrolled in the paper Introduction to Human Structure and Function for the second time had not been showing motivation and interest in the paper or any other papers in the course. Significant association was found between students’ confidence in abilities to pass the paper, and family support. In the study parents appeared as demanding evidence of the results, and setting rules. Support given to the group by their lecturers and fellow students was significantly bigger than that given by their parents. Low self-esteem in the majority of students was evident, and it is considered that low self-esteem contributed significantly to their failure.

Go to top

 

M3B2 Spatial Ability: Issues Associated with Engineering and Gender
Anthony Williams, Ken Sutton and Rebecca Allen; The University of Newcastle

The link between students’ spatial ability and their success in a range of engineering courses has been recognised in recent years but its full impact is not understood.  This paper reports on research into the spatial abilities of novice designers, engineering students being a major component of this group.  The paper focuses on the relationship of spatial ability to gender as well as spatial ability and UAI. This paper also provides an overview of the spatial abilities according to discipline.

Go to top

 

M3B3 Inspiring Secondary and Tertiary Students Through Applied Electronics
Les Dawes, Duncan Campbell, Brenton Dansie, Hilary Beck and Sam Wallace; Queensland University of Technology

The decline in engineering enrolments internationally, coupled with a high attrition rate and dramatic skills shortages, has focussed attention on the imperative to stimulate interest among secondary school students in the study of Engineering.  Several programs have been developed for this purpose already with varying success.  This paper reports on the ATN Engineering in Schools project at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), which stimulates interest in electronics for Years 9 and 10 as prerequisites to subject selection for senior secondary school.  This program was established under the auspices of the University of South Australia, which has also developed appropriate electronics project, curriculum and hardware.  Complementing this program, QUT has developed an advanced microcontroller application called the Electronic Teaching Tool (ETT) which links projects to the technology curriculum along a broad spectrum. QUT’s approach utilises senior university students as mentors to the students of the three pilot secondary schools in Brisbane. Significant benefits are expected for secondary school students, teachers, and university students engaging in this collaborative program.

Go to top

 

M3B4 Gender Differences in Student Attitudes Toward Engineering and Academic Careers
Zora Vrcelj and Shana Krishnan; The University of New South Wales

Past research has attributed many reasons for the under-representation of women in engineering and academic careers which start from childhood and progress all the way to professional levels in adulthood. The focus of this research is on understanding barriers to further education experienced by female students in engineering in order to encourage them into postgraduate study and an academic career. A pilot study, an extensive survey of current students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, and focus group meetings were undertaken to identify the ways female students at present feel supported in pursuing a civil engineering degree and the forms of further support that could be provided. The surveys sought answers on how best to address the obstacles that discourage women from pursuing and completing graduate degrees.

Go to top

 

M3B5 Self-Guided Field Trips for Students of Environments
Graham Moore, Roger Kerr and Roger Hadgraft; The University of Melbourne

The Bachelor of Environments is one of the New Generation Degrees within the Melbourne Model at the University of Melbourne. It is intended to provide a platform of study for students in a number of disciplines and to provide a source of breadth study for students from other New Generation Degrees. Providing opportunities for students to undertake field trips while studying first year subjects in the Bachelor of Environments is one of the more challenging issues for subject designers. How can large cohorts of students gain practical exposure to various aspects of the environment? Although this is typically done using traditional site visits and fieldwork with a high staff/student ratio, our goal has been to design and develop resources to enable small groups (3 or 4) to make self-guided visits to sites close to campus. The students are guided by multimedia resources to examine and interpret aspects of the site that relate to their on-campus learning. One critical issue in the success of these activities has been a proper risk assessment and provision for immediate assistance if required. These self-guided field trips are an important way of ensuring an engaging learning experience, even for large classes.

Session M3C – Program Initiatives
Session Chair – Lydia Kavanagh, The University of Queensland
15:30 – 17:00          Alexander Room

 

M3C1 Is the Evolution of Engineering Education Degree Programs Sustainable?
Colin Kestell; The University of Adelaide

Program changes in engineering education at the University of Adelaide have historically been out of necessity to address advancements in technology as well as economic and social influences.  More recently however the flood of specialised engineering degree programs appears to be an obvious marketing strategy to attract high-school students, and as such may not be a sustainable method of evolving engineering education. Students completing high-school are now expected to choose their specific vocation at the commencement of their engineering education. Such programs reduce the students’ opportunities to reconsider their vocational pathway as their appreciation of engineering matures. In the presence of existing elective courses (already in existence to permit specialisation), the new programs and their new associated courses also increase the workload demands on academic staff, perhaps unnecessarily so. There is also evidence that the popularity of specialised degrees is directly influenced by the immediate health of the relevant industry sector. Defined specialised study pathways (or major streams) in time-tested more traditional programs may be one solution.  These may help to retain the core identity of the engineer; provide the graduate with an opportunity to generalise or be precise about their engineering specialisation (thus increasing their employment opportunities); rationalise the need for elective courses; and hence improve the operational efficiency of the school, department or faculty. The objective of this paper is therefore to encourage rigorous debate upon the sustainability and longer term effects of new engineering degree programs.

Go to top

 

M3C2 The New Software Engineering Program at the University of Sydney
David Levy, Bob Kummerfeld, Sanjay Chawla, Rafael Calvo and Alan Fekete; The University of Sydney

The new Software Engineering degree program implemented in 2008 at the University of Sydney has been designed as a collaborative effort between the School of Electrical and Information Engineering and the School of IT.  The design of the new curriculum is based on the ACS, ACM and IEEE curriculum recommendations and the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), as well as the results of a detailed industry review. Close attention was paid to Computing Curriculum 2001 (CC2001) and to Software Engineering 2004 (SE2004). The curriculum design had to meet the above constraints, a 25% reduction in units of study offered due to falling enrolments, accommodate a flexible first year program, integrate with the programs of both Schools, strongly focus on active and project-based learning and on graduate attributes to ensure the new program incorporates the full set of knowledge and attitudes that students should possess as they graduate from university

Go to top

 

M3C3 Challenges and Opportunities for Construction Education in Australia 
Willy Sher, Anthony Williams and Catharine Simmons; The University of Newcastle

The university education of construction professionals is unique as curricula straddle diverse areas, including technology, design, law, management and finance.  Furthermore, the opportunities for would-be Construction Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors (CMQSBS) are extensive.  A buoyant construction industry is currently fuelling high student expectations.  Currently CMQSBS programs contribute over 1000 graduates annually.  This paper reports progress on Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant which, inter alia, showcases innovation and best practice within these disciplines.  Preliminary findings from an online survey as well as interviews and focus groups are documented here as well as some observations of how these disciplines might be improved.

Go to top

 

M3C4 Revised Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree Program at the University of Adelaide
Holger Maier; The University of Adelaide

As part of the University of Adelaide’s initiative to standardise the value of all courses to three units, a review of the Civil and Environmental Engineering degree program was conducted in order to ensure it meets the needs of students and industry.  It was found that although the content of the degree program was generally adequate and was developing the desired graduate attributes, there was significant scope for reorganisation of the content.  This has led to the development of a roadmap for the degree program, with clearly defined pathways in environmental, water and geotechnical engineering, ecology, pollution control, management and modelling and analysis, as well as a number of integrative courses in final year.

Go to top

 

M3C5 Multi-Campus Learning and Teaching at CQUniversity using ISL: A Case Study
Nirmal Mandal; CQUniversity

Teaching and learning (L&T) issues relating to multi-campus delivery of resources and communication are discussed in this paper. Issues relating to ISL facility to communicate with other campuses from one campus are quantified.  Emphasis is put forward only for teaching of the first and second year engineering students at CQUniversity.

 

Session T1A – Invited Educational Research Methods
Session Chair – Lesley Jolly, Strategic Partnerships
14:30 – 15:30          Jucarra Room

 

T1A1 A New Direction for Engineering Education Research: Unique Phenomenographic Results that Impact Big Picture Understandings
Shanna Daly and Robin Adams; Purdue University
Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity

As the pace of engineering keeps increasing, new innovations foci in engineering education research are needed. This paper presents one such innovation, away from looking at the skills engineers are to develop to focus on their embodied understanding of practice around aspects of professional practice. It does so through the use of a qualitative research approach known as phenomenography. The results of three a research projects guided by phenomenography are discussed and provide a unique lens for understanding aspects of the world that influence the practice of engineering, namely those of design across disciplines, sustainable design and cross-disciplinary practice. This paper summarizes the results from these three phenomenographic studies, emphasizing the implications these results reveal about the direction engineering education needs to head.

Go to top

 

T1A2 Professional Identity: A Framework for Research in Engineering Education
Llewellyn Mann, Prue Howard, Fons Nouwens & Fae Martin; CQUniversity

The development of a student’s professional identity as an engineer is key to understanding education from the student’s perspective, and framing future engineering education research. This paper investigates the idea of a professional engineering identity and puts forward the idea that a student’s engineering education should be focused on them developing an identity as a professional engineer. This identity not only includes the knowledge and skills usually developed in engineering programs, but attitudes and self beliefs toward being able to practice as an engineer. Understanding what influences the development of this identity, both positively and negatively, point to future research in engineering education.

Go to top

 

T1A3 Exploring Engineering Culture
Elizabeth Godfrey; The University of Auckland

Much has been written in the last ten years about “engineering culture” and the need to change it, particularly when we are discussing the non-technical graduate attributes or the representation of non-white, non-male individuals in the profession. But in order to change culture we need to understand it and this requires “not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning”. This is territory that few engineers care to venture into, but Liz’s work shows us how we might begin. She has discussed the difficulties of ethnographic work in engineering settings and provided us with a model of engineering culture that should stimulate fruitful debate about that elusive entity “engineering culture”.

Go to top

 

T1A4 Exploring Synergies Between Learning and Teaching in Engineering: A Case Study Approach
Wageeh Boles; Queensland University of Technology
Roger Hadgraft; The University of Melbourne
Prue Howard; CQUniversity

Understanding how we take in, process and present information as part of the learning process, provides clues on how specific teaching methods can be utilised to maximize learning. The literature suggests that a mismatch between learning styles or preferences and teaching styles and approaches may present a barrier to learning and contribute to attrition. This paper presents some early findings of an ALTC Associate Fellowship program, involving three universities, which uses a case study approach to explore the interactions between students’ learning styles on the one hand, and lecturers’ teaching styles, goals and philosophies, on the other. The paper also initiates discussions on how teaching approaches may be tailored to address the diversity of students’ learning styles over the duration of the engineering program, to enhance their learning experience and outcomes.

Go to top

 

Session T1B – Graduate Attributes & EA Competencies
Session Chair – Colin Kestell, The University of Adelaide
14:30 – 15:30          Golden Cane Room

 

T1B1 STRATÉGÉ - Study of Mobility of Australian and European Union Engineering Students and Tools to Assist Mobility
David Buisson and Robert Jensen; Queensland University of Technology

This paper presents the preliminary results from examining how universities of technology can better prepare graduates in engineering in both the EU and Australia to meet industry requirements in a globalised environment.  How will the new European qualifications frameworks and Diploma supplements contribute to meeting these requirements? How can mobility of students be increased and what is inhibiting mobility?  This comparative study of course design, combined with feedback from employers and students examines these questions with students, staff and the professional community. The results show both mobility barriers from students and staff perspectives.  The paper discusses potential opportunities to overcome barriers to mobility and enhance the opportunities for engineering students to have an international experience.

Go to top

 

T1B2 Assessment of Learning Outcomes – Supporting Change and the Move From Input to Output Standards
Liz Willis and John Dickens; The Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre

In this paper we will describe how the Engineering Subject Centre has worked with the Engineering Council UK to support the introduction of an outcomes based model for professional accreditation of engineering degree programmes in the UK.  The paper considers how the Engineering Subject Centre with its role as an independent national learning and teaching organisation has brought together a network of key stakeholders to highlight issues and develop appropriate support for changes to programme design, exploring how this model could be adopted to achieve transformative change in other contexts.

Go to top

 

T1B3 Redeveloping Capstone Projects in UTS Faculty of Engineering:  Has Aligning Assessment with Engineers Australia Competencies Improved Learning Outcomes?
Keith Willey, Rob Jarman and Anne Gardner; University of Technology, Sydney

UTS: Engineering Capstone Projects are undertaken in the final semester(s) of study and provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate a capacity to perform at the level expected of a professional engineer. The existing subject requirements had remained relatively unchanged for over 10 years and some project supervisors had expressed concern regarding a perceived drop in quality of project work – and its assessment.  To confirm the largely anecdotal viewpoint a benchmarking survey was undertaken during Autumn Semester 2007.  The results of this survey were used to design a new subject structure.  The new structure aligns assessment to competencies published by Engineers Australia, focuses on providing students with a more comprehensive learning experience, improved support in developing their project proposals and integrated feedback mechanisms.  In this paper we analyse the initial evaluation of these changes to determine how successful they have been at improving student learning outcomes.

Go to top

 

T1B4 Global Accreditation for the Global Engineering Attributes: A Way Forward
Arun Patil, Chenicheri Sid Nair and Gary Codner; Monash University

Engineering graduates today need to work within multicultural and multinational workplace environments with adequate professional attributes or competencies. In addition to the mandatory engineering (technical) capabilities, today’s engineering graduate need to perform managerial, financial and other several tasks in the workplace. The relevant literature on students’ learning outcomes shows that graduates from university courses are not necessarily getting the skills and competencies that are required by industry or employers. The ‘competency gap’ between engineering graduate attributes and employers’ expectations are elaborated in this paper using a case study of engineering graduates of Monash University. The paper also proposes a global engineering accreditation model to achieve global engineering competencies.

Go to top

 

Session T1C – Library
Session Chair – Jocelyn Poirier, Cundall
14:30 – 15:30          Alexander Room

 

T1C1 Test them, Teach them, Test them; Can a One-hour Library Tutorial Improve Students’ Information Literacy?
Susan Brookes and Aiguo Patrick Hu; The University of Auckland

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland recognizes the importance of information literacy (IL) to both the academic learning and the subsequent professional practice of its students. A collaboration between a Senior Lecturer and two Librarians explored ways of improving the IL skills of a post-graduate engineering class. The pilot comprised: a pre-test of students' IL skills, a one-hour hands-on-computer tutorial tailored to a course assignment, a post-test of the student's IL skills, the assignment results, and students' evaluations of both the tutorial and the course. In this paper we will discuss the aims, methods used, results achieved, lessons learnt, and proposals for future improvements.

Go to top

 

T1C2 Light Bulb Moments: Identifying Information Research Threshold Concepts for Fourth Year Engineering Students
Phil Yorke-Barber, Loretta Atkinson, Gisela Possin and Leith Woodall; The University of Queensland

The librarians in the Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences and Engineering Library undertook a project to identify information research threshold concepts which fourth year undergraduate students must know to produce high quality research assignments. The methodology used to identify threshold concepts was to survey students, librarians and academics. A suggested threshold concept in information research is the critical evaluation of information resources to establish their authority, quality and credibility. This paper aims to demonstrate how a threshold concept approach clarifies the student experience in information research and provides a framework for the design of future information skills training.

Go to top

 

T1C3 Are Your Foundations Sound?  Information Literacy and the Building of Holistic Professional Practitioners
Craig Milne and Jennifer Thomas; Queensland University of Technology

An engineer cannot be holistic without being information literate.  Information literacy is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (ALA, 2006).  These abilities are identified within university graduate attributes and the Australian Engineering Competency Standards – Stage 1. This paper outlines the process of addressing information literacy within the undergraduate engineering curriculum at Queensland University of Technology.  It explores the blending of information literacy into a large faculty-wide first year unit.  Discussed are collaborative partnerships between faculty academics and librarians in content creation, teaching and assessment, success factors and areas for ongoing development to enhance learning outcomes.

Go to top

 

T1C4 Using an Authentic Learning Environment to Help Students see that there’s more to Research than Google and Wikipedia: a Reflection
Sandra Cochrane and Steven Goh; University of Southern Queensland

Authentic learning environments open up opportunities to help students learn about the value of research skills and the importance of professional sources (two aspects of information literacy). Individual students begin to see how limiting a reliance on Google and Wikipedia is to the development of their professional knowledge base. But, it is important to recognise that these skills and knowledge are built over time. Information literacy is not achieved in one course alone. It grows as discipline knowledge grows over an entire program.

Go to top

 

Session T2A – Educational Research Methods B
Session Chair – Shanna Daly, The University of Michigan / Purdue University
16:00 – 17:00          Jucarra Room

 

T2A1 Does Pedagogy Still Rule?
Marisha McAuliffe, Douglas Hargreaves, Abigail Winter and Gary Chadwick; Queensland University of Technology

Theories on teaching and learning for adult learners are constantly being reviewed and discussed in the higher educational environment. Theories are not static and appear to be in a constant developmental process. This paper discusses three of these theories; pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy. It is argued that although educators engage in many of the principles of either student-centered (andragogy) and self-determined (heutagogy) learning, it is not possible to fully implement either theory. The two main limitations are the requirements of both internal and external stakeholders such as accrediting bodies and requirements to assess all student learning. A reversion to teacher-centered learning (pedagogy) ensues. In summary, we engage in many action-oriented learning activities but revert to teacher-centered approaches in terms of content and assessment.

Go to top

 

T2A2 What do they Know? An Entry-level Test for Electricity
Chris Smaill, Gerard Rowe and Elizabeth Godfrey; The University of Auckland

Industry demands an increasing number of engineering graduates. However, if first-year engineering numbers are to grow, much of the growth is likely to come from students with lower achievement levels. In order to support these students effectively, and to ensure the courses they take remain appropriate, the academic preparedness of these students must be determined. Recent changes to the way New Zealand conducts its national entry qualifications mean students may elect to take only some of the physics modules, and could well not study the electricity module at all. For these reasons, the lecturers in the year-one engineering course Electrical and Digital Systems introduced in 2007 a short diagnostic test at the start of their course to determine the level of understanding of electricity and electromagnetics possessed by the incoming students. This paper presents their findings in regard to the students’ understanding of electricity.

Go to top

 

T2A3 An Experiment in Improving Engagement with Students in Lectures and Tutorials
Jasmine Banks; Queensland University of Technology

The aim of this study was to experiment with activities that can be done during lectures and tutorials to improve engagement with students.  The various activities took place during lectures and tutorials of ENB240 – Introduction to Electronics, a second year Electrical Engineering subject. In the first stage of the project, students were asked what could be done to both improve engagement in lectures and tutorials and to assist with their learning. Based on student responses, various activities were undertaken during the semester including: online quizzes; worked examples on the document camera; using an audience response system with keypads; and passing around physical devices in class.  At the end of the semester, “Worked examples on the document camera” was reported by the most students as assisting with their learning, while “Use of keypads” was reported by the most as improving engagement in the lecture.

Go to top

 

Session T2B – Graduate Attributes A
Session Chair – Liza O’Moore, The University of Queensland
16:00 – 17:00          Golden Cane Room

 

T2B1 Conversational Auditing of Stage 1 Competencies for Accreditation and Beyond
Anna Carew, David Lewis and Chris Letchford; The University of Tasmania

Herein we describe our process for auditing and mapping the teaching and assessment of the Engineers Australia’s Stage 1 Competencies listed as the ‘PE3s’.  The mapping was catalysed by an impending Engineers Australia accreditation review of the University of Tasmania’s undergraduate engineering programs.  While the primary driver was reaccreditation, we considered it important that the process provide additional opportunities including: building awareness of PE3s amongst academics; greater clarity on teaching and assessment to develop students’ generic attributes; opportunities to make assessment of PE3s explicit for students; and an accurate snapshot of which PE3s were being developed and which were falling by the wayside.  This wider agenda (beyond preparing for accreditation) encouraged us to design the mapping activity as the beginning of an ongoing academic and curriculum development process, rather than an end in itself.  We describe the conversational process we developed, and provide examples of the data gathered during the process.

Go to top

 

T2B2 The Teaching of a History of Technology Course in an Engineering Program – Comments and Observations on Relevance to Graduate Attributes and Learning Outcomes
Raymond Lewis and Jane Stewart-Lewis; UNSW@ADFA

Many universities and engineering accreditation bodies stress the importance of engineering programs that include a breadth of learning beyond the technical aspects of engineering and science. Many university and engineering accreditation boards emphasis the development of learning skills and the provision of opportunities for a liberal education. However, the perceived need to cover curriculum content sometimes obscures these stated ideals. This paper discusses a history of technology course that attempts to redress some of the observed failings of content-driven courses. The discussion focuses on two examples of lecture content that illustrate the corrigible nature of engineering and science knowledge and also provides elucidation of the teaching and learning methodology. The examples of then are discussed with regard to the manner by which they help the student attain the graduate attributes of a deeper understanding and a social responsibility that is associated with their chosen discipline.

Go to top

 

T2B3 Curriculum Lifeboat: A Process for Rationalising Engineering Course Content
Anna Carew; The University of Tasmania
Euan Lindsay; Curtin University of Technology

The problem of how to deal with overloaded curriculum and out-of-date content faces many engineering course co-ordinators.  Engineering is a rapidly evolving field, and recent changes in the higher education landscape (e.g. changed accreditation expectations; changing demands of incoming students) mean curriculum rationalisation is a priority.  As Professor Norman Fortenberry has said (EE, 2008): “That which is not core we must be willing to let go”. In this paper we describe a process to aid course co-ordinators and academic teachers in negotiating shared content priorities.  The ‘Curriculum Lifeboat’ process is presented as an enjoyable academic development activity which serves as a precursor to rationalising content at unit level.  We describe how to run a Lifeboat and detail two examples of outcomes from the process; a small group Lifeboat run at course level, and a pair Lifeboat focussed on priority concepts for first year statics.

Go to top

 

Session T2C – Technology & Assessment
Session Chair – Adam Thompson, CQUniversity
16:00 – 17:00          Alexander Room

 

T2C1 The Use of a Concept Inventory to Provide Individual Automated Feedback from Online Tests
Tom Molyneaux; RMIT University

Tests based on the idea of a Concept Inventory have been developed in many engineering and science areas over the last two decades - the most well known being the Force Concept Inventory used to assess understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Generally these have been used to assess the effectiveness of variation in teaching methods. This paper presents an alternative approach to assessing students’ misconceptions that provides not only an assessment of conceptual understanding in terms of a conceptual inventory but also provides the student with guidance on what to do next.  The technique aligns errors with likely misconception(s) - these links carry a level of confidence.  As a student progresses through the online tests the level of confidence that there is, or is not, a particular misconception grows. The resulting diagnosis is then used to direct students to relevant learning material where the misconception is deemed serious.

Go to top

 

T2C2 “Where did we go wrong?”  An Examination of Students Treatment of Experimental Error in Engineering Mechanics Laboratories
Tim Anderson, Rob Torrens, Mark Lay and Mike Duke; The University of Waikato

The ability of engineers and applied scientists to undertake experimental measurements is a fundamental requirement of the profession. However, it is not simply good enough to be able to perform experiments if we are not able to interpret the results. In this study, reports prepared by mechanical engineering students were examined to determine how students dealt with the disparity between experimental measurements and theoretical results in their Engineering Mechanics laboratories. Analysis of the reports, and discussions with students in their laboratory classes, revealed a superficial understanding or regard for experimental error. This superficial treatment of experimental error is, most likely, due to a number of factors that are discussed. Some possible strategies for addressing the issue are also examined.

Go to top

 

T2C3 Can Practical Intelligence from a Laboratory Experience be Measured?
Zol Bahri Razali and James Trevelyan; The University of Western Australia

Empirical studies of engineering practice suggest that implicit and tacit knowledge acquired through hands-on activities in laboratory classes is valuable in engineering practice. Implicit and tacit knowledge or “practical intelligence” occurs when a person learns unintentionally, could also be a useful learning outcome from a laboratory experience. Nonetheless, when evaluating laboratory exercises, the assessment involves only explicit outcomes and student perceptions. Practical intelligence has not yet been assessed or measured. Industry surveys provide strong evidence that engineering graduates do not seem to be aware of the kinds of practical intelligence needed in their work.  This may result from the implicit devaluation of practical intelligence which might significantly impair engineering students’ ability to acquire and value this knowledge. Therefore, developing ways to include effective assessment of practical intelligence could be one way to overcome this difficulty. A methodology for developing effective assessment of practical intelligence is proposed in this paper.

Go to top

 

T2C4 Some Reflections on On-line Tutoring and Plagiarism
Nathan Scott and Brian Stone; The University of Western Australia

In 1995 the authors developed and implemented an online tutoring system for first year engineering dynamics. This involved a set of problems with diagnostic feedback and a sub-set of problems that earned credit. Initially the system was very effective but over the years the degree of plagiarism has increased. This paper is concerned with describing the history of events, describing remedies that were put in place, examining their outcomes and suggesting ways forward. In particular the issue of why students choose to cheat and not spend the time mastering a topic is discussed.

Go to top

 

Session W1A – Futures
Session Chair – Nirmal Mandal, CQUniversity
12:45 – 14:15          Jucarra Room

 

W1A1 Successful Use of a Wiki to Facilitate Virtual Team Work in a Problem-Based Learning Environment
Sandra Cochrane, Lyn Brodie and Greg Pendlebury; University of Southern Queensland

This paper investigates the use of a wiki to support forty-two virtual teams and their development of three team reports for assessment in a core first year course. ENG1101 Engineering Problem Solving 1 uses a problem-based learning paradigm to facilitate the development of effective teamwork, communication and problem solving skills, as well as the acquisition and application of key technical knowledge to real world engineering problems. Our early analysis of student evaluation responses, the monitoring of teams’ wiki use and teams’ assessment outcomes support our choice of a wiki as a learning platform

Go to top

 

W1A2 Beyond The Classroom Walls: Remote Labs, Authentic Experimentation with Theory Lectures
Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Zoltan K Nagy and Richard E Blanchard; Loughborough University

Recent calls of constructivist pedagogy emphasize the role of delivering education in more authentic and real contexts. It urges the change of the classical classroom lecture model towards more active participation of the students. Engineering is to large extent an applied science, it is very important to be taught in its genuine context rather than the current more theory oriented model. One important issue is to support the classroom theoretical lectures with real applications. Laboratories are provided essentially as core part of engineering education as a platform of showing the applicability of theory into practice, however, most labs are not portable and can not be moved into the classroom to show the links between theory and practice in real time. One solution is close the distance through remote operation of the lab rig during the lecture. This approach is also useful in enriching the number of utilized rigs through sharing among institutes. This paper reports on the approach of utilizing and sharing remote experimentation for classroom theoretical lectures. It also reports the students opinion towards the novel approach.

Go to top

 

W1A3 Preparation for Teaching Engineering on a Remote Campus
Alan McPhail; CQUniversity, Sydney

The University is planning to teach the first two years of an established engineering program on a remote campus. We report on the context, preparation and strategies to ensure that students will develop the same engineering attributes as students on the home campus.

Go to top

 

W1A4 A New Paradigm for Professional Development Framework and Curriculum Renewal in Engineering Management Education: A Proposal for Reform
Steven Goh; University of Southern Queensland

Management education for engineers has been confined to traditional management programs offered by business schools, often in the form of an MBA. However, the changing environment for future engineering managers demands a revitalised framework and refreshed curriculum for professional development, especially in postgraduate education. The fluid nature of the management education market has introduced many influencing factors such as corporatisation of management education and proliferation of short courses. This change in delivery and curriculum preference is mainly as a result of the changing dynamics and needs of both employers and employees within the engineering context. Hence, this paper presents to the engineering profession a proposal to reform the professional development framework and curriculum renewal for engineering management education within an Australian context.

Go to top

 

W1A5 Staff Resources and Business Case Issues in Programme Design, Development and Implementation
Vasantha Abeysekera; AUT University

The discussions in this paper centre on the affordability of staff resources vis-a-vis workload norms particularly in relation to new programmes of study. A simplified procedure for arriving at staff resources using standard workload norms is described. The affordability of such requirements is assessed through a simplified business-case model. These are lean and rapid approaches which help develop strategies for resolving imbalances between resource requirements and affordability with ease. These simplified approaches assist in making informed choices and for gaining new insights in preference to standard budgetary procedures. Recruitment of staff during the establishment phase of a new programme must be seriously thought through to avoid disastrous consequences. Related strategies should be established with a focus on commercial realities. The simplified approach described herein creates transparency on decisions regarding staffing levels and provides an opportunity for all staff to be part of such decision making and thereby diffuse any tensions that might prevail over workload allocations.

Go to top

Session W1B – Remote Labs
Session Chair – Euan Lindsay, Curtin University of Technology
12:45 – 14:15          Golden Cane Room

 

W1B1 Teaching Operating System Concepts Through On-Demand Virtual Labs
James Lucas and Steve Murray; University of Technology, Sydney

Computer laboratories in universities are in most cases tightly controlled managed services in order to ensure a high level of availability to all students. This involves restricting user privileges and removing the ability to modify configurations and system programs. These environments are not well matched to the practical side of teaching operating system concepts especially when it comes to experimentation with the kernel of an operating system. Through the use of computer virtualisation technologies we can provide students with the computing resources to experiment with an OS.

Go to top

 

W1B2 Infrastructure for Remotely Accessible Laboratories at the University of Southern Queensland
Tony Ahfock, David Buttsworth, Mark Phythian and Andrew Maxwell; University of Southern Queensland

Technological developments during the last two decades have made it possible for educational institutions to establish systems for the remote access of hardware and software resources. Teaching staff around the world have come to recognize the educational and other benefits of laboratories that their students can remotely access. A number of remotely accessible laboratories are now in operation. Remote access of hardware and software resources is of particular interest to the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) because of its high proportion of students studying in distance mode. Work towards setting up remotely accessible laboratories at USQ started at the end of 2006. This paper reports on the University’s remote laboratory communication infrastructure and the reasoning behind its design. It also provides details of the various techniques that are being used for interfacing with laboratory hardware. The paper includes a discussion on the initial experience of staff and students involved with the use of the remote access system and what is being done to improve user experience.

Go to top

 

W1B3 Responding to Our New Students: Flexible Remote Laboratories for Regional Learners
Adam Thompson and Llewellyn Mann; CQUniversity

Just as engineering practice is changing at an ever increasing pace, so are out students. They are no longer content to sit as one among a faceless crowd at set times in set places. The pressures of work commitments, as well as different learning styles means that a different approach is required. The hardest aspect of this are the laboratories required as part of the accreditation process. This paper discusses the use of flexible remote laboratories to help meet this challenge, particularly with labs that require consumables.

Go to top

 

W1B4 Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Remote Laboratory for Microelectronics Fabrication
Aaron Mohtar, Zorica Nedic and Jan Machotka; The University of South Australia

The development of a second remote laboratory in the School of Electrical Information Engineering (EIE) follows the success and effectiveness that our first remote laboratory, Netlab, achieved. This laboratory will be used to conduct experiments in the relatively narrow field of Microelectronics Fabrication, where remote laboratories rarely exist due to the obstacles specific to this field. This type of laboratory requires a substantial amount of human interaction, where users control the position of micro-probes under a microscope to test the electrical characteristics of electronic circuits on a silicon wafer. Since this remote laboratory is a pioneer in this field of education it requires careful deployment and development. In this paper, we present the tools that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this new remote laboratory.

Go to top

 

W1B5 A New H.E.L.P. Kit for Teaching Practical AC Electronics to Undergraduate Distance Students
John Long, Lee De Vries, Hall Robynne and Abbas Kouzani; Deakin University

An important part of educating students in electronics and electrical engineering is laboratory practicals. Providing effective practical experience to students by distance education has always been a significant challenge to the engineering educator. Deakin University has for many years taught practicals in basic digital electronics by means of a kit. Students have performed related exercises in analogue electronics, which require generating and measuring AC signals, by means of either software simulations or on-campus attendance at lab classes. This year, for the first time, off-campus students are being provided with a new kit, which contains a low-cost, battery-powered AC signal generator, and an interface that allows a PC to be used as an oscilloscope. This kit allows the off-campus student further flexibility in learning basic electronics.

Go to top

Session W1C – Collaboration Initiatives
Session Chair – Fons Nouwens, CQUniversity
12:45 – 14:15          Alexander Room

 

W1C1 Using Moodle, An Open Source Learning Management System, To Support a National Teaching and Learning Collaboration
Trish Andrews; The University of Queensland
Chris Daly; The University of New South Wales

Australia and provides a unified third and fourth year curriculum for the mining engineering degree for 90% of Australia’s mining engineers. A fourth institution, the University of Adelaide, will be joining MEA from 2009. This paper provides an overview of the issues MEA faces as a collaboration in supporting teaching and learning activities for students across four partner institutions. The paper discusses MEA’s adoption of Moodle as its Learning Management System. It explores the pros and cons of open source products and the strategies necessary to ensure successful adoption across multiple campuses. The paper provides a rationale for MEA’s selection of Moodle as its LMS, the opportunities this choice provides and outlines the strategies put in place to ensure its successful uptake.

Go to top

 

W1C2 Promoting and Monitoring Self-regulated Learning Techniques in Engineering Schools
Alan Jowitt; AUT University

Self-regulated learning (SRL) comprises a set of processes that students can use with the objective of improving academic performance. SRL has been the subject of research for over two decades and there is a general acceptance that the methodology has some real value in helping students to increase academic achievement. There remains some uncertainty about how best to introduce SRL to students, to encourage use of SRL, and to measure the benefit (or otherwise) of its practise. Tools for SRL have been developed and are available to students and educators. This paper discusses how SRL may be taught and how student usage of the techniques may be encouraged and monitored.

Go to top

 

W1C3 Civil Engineering with Architecture @ UNSW
Mario Attard and Zora Vrcelj; The University of New South Wales

This paper describes an innovative new multi-disciplinary single undergraduate degree with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Architecture completed within four years. The program is Civil Engineering with Architecture. It is not a combined degree, it is a “with” degree. The core of the Civil Engineering Program is maintained and supplemented with almost a full year of courses from the Architecture faculty. The program aims are to provide an appreciation of architectural principles, an understanding of the architect's role, the interaction between architects and engineers, and the importance of ethics, context, sustainability, unique innovative design and aesthetics. Students graduating from this program will be better equipped to collaborate with architects and other professionals in the built environment to produce integrated and sustainable design.

Go to top

 

W1C4 Collaborative Partnership for Development of Mechatronics Engineering Education of the Future
Milan Simic, John Mo and Peter Dawson; RMIT University

A collaborative partnership between RMIT University and industry partner SAGE Didactic has been developed. This partnership is born for the shared commitment to “Advancing the technical skills of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce”. This ambitious commitment engages with students in the early stages of high school with the view to exciting them about the critical role engineering trades, paraprofessional, professional and postgraduates contribute to society. To enable early student excitement to be qualified and nurtured, the collaborative partnership develops a full set of laboratory systems and support courseware that provides a robust educational experience to students, school teachers, trade and professional participants.  The expected outcomes are an increased interest in the aforesaid study areas, a reduction in the drop out rate in the first and second years of higher education and progressively an expansion in the skills a graduate will present.

Go to top

 

W1C5 An Online Teaching Resource for Acoustical Engineering
Andrew Hore and Brian Stone; The University of Western Australia

In producing online teaching resources for acoustical engineering students, an applet shell is a fast and effective choice in order to produce a wide range of programs. This online material is not intended as a substitute for traditional classes, the applets can act as supplementary material to help strengthen a student’s understanding of the subject area. The online format of these types of teaching aids means they can be easily used in any tertiary classroom setting, regardless of class size. By creating basic functionality for a shell an academic does not need to waste time writing code that performs tasks not associated with producing the acoustic theory part of the program. Nor are they required to know exactly how those tasks are performed. This paper describes the creation of a shell designed specifically for acoustical engineering that enables students to both observe graphs but more importantly to hear the sounds on the computer’s speakers as they adjust the input. Using a collaborative approach between a programmer and an academic a Java shell was created that can be used to create many online acoustical resources for students similar to the examples presented in the paper.

Go to top

Session W2A – Examples of PBL
Session Chair – Thomas Goldfinch, The University of Wollongong
14:30 – 16:00          Jucarra Room

 

W2A1 Evaluation of Modes of Electronic Delivery of Construction Management Courses
Willy Sher and Thayaparan Gajendra; The University of Newcastle

The profile of construction management students is changing.  In Australia, a buoyant construction industry is currently fuelling high student expectations.  Job opportunities for students (as part-time employees) and for graduates are attractive.  Students embarking on their studies come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a profile that is significantly different from the early 1990’s when the Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) program started at Newcastle University (Australia).  This degree has embraced problem-based learning (PBL) as its main tenet and was developed for on-campus as well as distance learning delivery.  Recent reviews by the Australian Institute of Building and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveying as well as the University have highlighted the need to respond to market requirements and student expectations.  Over the past three years the degree has been redeveloped to embrace mixed-mode delivery to on-campus as well as to distance learning students.  This paper provides some background to the degree program, describes the various e-delivery approaches used for mixed-mode delivery and finally reports on students’ evaluation of the efficacy of these methods.

Go to top

 

W2A2 The Role of Project Based Learning and Reverse Engineering in the Education of Manufacturing Processes
Aliya Valiyff, Rebecca Baylis and Christopher French; The University of Adelaide

Today's engineering industry calls for graduates who have not only well developed technical skills, but also expertise in the fields of communication, interdisciplinary team work and manufacturing. Project based education is one such way in which these skill sets can be nurtured. Although the effectiveness of project based learning in relation to improving the student’s technical knowledge, team work and management skills are well documented, the application to the education of manufacturing has yet to be quantified. In a field such as Aeronautical engineering where specialist techniques and processes are utilized, it is a challenge to offer practical hands on experience on every aspect of a project. This paper discusses the role of project based learning and reverse engineering in the education of manufacturing processes.

Go to top

 

W2A3 Reflections on Inductive-based Teaching of Fundamental Engineering Science Subjects
Josef Rojter; Victoria University

As part of Victoria University’s re-branding, in 2005, both schools of engineering at the university decided to adopt Problem Based Learning (PBL) pedagogies in their undergraduate courses. The pedagogical approach to Engineering Materials was uniquely based on inductive-based teaching and learning methodology in which PBL constituted one of the pedagogical tools. Yet, despite greater teaching intensity and subject complexity combined with a high demand placed on time management as part of student participation in developing teamwork skills, the pass and student subject satisfaction rates remained comparatively high. The negative aspects related to poor study habits and unfamiliarity with working in teams.

Go to top

 

W2A4 Problem-based Learning in Teaching Formal Specification
Roslina Sidek and Fauziah Zainuddin; Universiti Malaysia Pahang

Learning process is very important in academic industry.  Students are the person that will give the service to the country after they finished their study yet.  So, as academician, we underlined the way we teach really important to our student.  We proposed a process to make student understand about the subject which is Formal Methods by using problem-based learning process.  We discussed about the traditional approach with proposed approach.  This method can help student in construct formal specification. This approach can train our student more critical thinking, independent and confident.

Go to top

 

W2A5 Evaluating Learning Outcomes in PBL Using Fuzzy Logic Techniques
Srikanth Venkatesan and Sam Fragomeni; Victoria University

Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a popular pedagogy in many parts of the world.  A significant advantage of PBL is that the problems (or projects) can be chosen (or developed) to achieve (or deliver) certain learning outcomes. As students are encouraged to work in groups, the final product which is the result of a group work forms the basis of assessment. Often group marks are allocated to individuals. In some instances the assessor comes with own rules of individual assessment within a group. However the measurement of learning outcomes is usually ignored. The common practice is to rely on the final summative assessment. This paper shows that this reliance could be inappropriate, based on the analysis of a recent teaching assignment delivered in PBL mode. In particular fuzzy logic techniques have been adopted to measure the learning outcomes. A class size of 130 students were analysed to develop the methodology and the results of key student groups are presented in this paper.

Go to top

 

Session W2B – Assessment
Session Chair – Antony Dekkers, CQUniversity
14:30 – 16:00          Golden Cane Room

 

W2B1 Quality Control of Assessment in Large Engineering Courses
Jim Greenslade; The University of Auckland

In some large engineering courses, assignments are being replaced by invigilated tests, due to issues of plagiarism. However, it is a concern that tests may not have the same formative benefit as regular assignments. Whether assignments or tests are employed, the quality of marking remains a key to any successful assessment process. Recent research on the variability of grades between markers in large courses is presented. Strategies to more closely engage lecturers in the assessment process are proposed, along with more targeted training and moderation of markers. Measures of acceptable variance, and threshold tests for early identification of potential marking problems, are discussed.

Go to top

 

W2B2 Assessment Strategy for Virtual Teams Undertaking the EWB Challenge
Lyn Brodie; University of Southern Queensland

The Engineers without Borders (EWB) Challenge has been incorporated into a core first year course in the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at University of Southern Queensland.  This paper examines an assessment strategy which supports developing a team and problem solving process as well as the final outcome for the team.  The assessment strategy aims to encourage teams and individual students to develop practices and strategies which can be used in other projects and problem solving situations as well as producing this one team report in one course.  The team and problem solving process is critical as the majority of our teams work as virtual teams having no face to face contact with either other team members or facilitator.  Significant emphasis is placed on developing strategies for virtual team work and encouraging individual student learning in line with individual learning goals set with consideration of prior knowledge and experience.

Go to top

 

W2B3 Cross-Institutional Comparison of Mechanics Examinations: A Guide for the Curious
Thomas Goldfinch and Timothy McCarthy; University of Wollongong
Anna Carew and Alan Henderson; The University of Tasmania
Anne Gardner; University of Technology, Sydney
Giles Thomas; Australian Maritime College

This paper describes a process used to compare final mechanics exam papers for first year engineering mechanics courses at the University of Wollongong, the University of Tasmania, the University of Technology, Sydney, and the Australian Maritime College. The process developed for the purpose emphasized a transparent and sequenced approach to comparing the concepts included in each exam paper, as well as the level of difficulty of exam questions. The exercise was carried out remotely, using readily available communications technology, including telephone, email, and Skype teleconferencing. This process is an example of a simple, easy to implement, and readily transportable approach to cross-institutional peer review of assessments, and an effective way of enhancing collaborative links between engineering educators.

Go to top

 

W2B4 Hearing Each Other - How Can We Give Feedback that Students Really Value
Neil McCallum, Julian Bondy and Margaret Jollands; RMIT University

In 2008 RMIT University had a focus on student feedback. One project called “Hearing each other” looked at identifying feedback that students find useful and meaningful. Students from a range of programs including engineering and year levels were questioned. Focus groups were held where students were asked a series of questions about kinds of feedback they had received and what they found useful or less useful. The results were analysed for similarities and differences between year levels and between programs. The results showed students valued the same kinds of feedback, especially use of marking sheets to promote consistent clear marking. Students disliked “tut lotto”, where their marks would depend more on who was marking than what was written. Highly rated staff identified too much emphasis on feedback on assessed work as a problem. There were few differences between programs and year levels on the type of feedback wanted.

Go to top

 

W2B5 BE (Hons) Final Year Project Assessment – Leaving out the Subjectiveness
Guy Littlefair and Peter Gossman; AUT University

Final year projects for BE(Hons) programmes are the linkage between the academic and the industrial domains. Projects are often judged by respective employers as the measure by which students are considered and are also closely surveyed by professional bodies when accreditation is sought. In some instances, final year projects can lead to publications in conferences and journals and also allow students to continue their academic study into research degrees. However, the assessment of both the final thesis and the process of conducting the project are often subjective and open to challenge. This paper discusses a comprehensive strategy for removing some of the inconsistencies and proposes a transparent and robust assessment model which can be applied in similar areas elsewhere. This approach has been developed at the School of Engineering at AUT University in Auckland.

Go to top

 

Session W2C – Graduate Attributes B
Session Chair – Gerard Rowe, The University of Auckland
14:30 – 16:00          Alexander Room

 

W2C1 Milestone – Based Assessment: An Alternative Continuous Assessment Strategy for Laboratory Learning Outcomes
Euan Lindsay; Curtin University of Technology

Engineering programs often feature units that contain a semester-long laboratory project, in which students complete an extended piece of work throughout the full duration of the semester.  This paper presents an alternative assessment approach called “Milestone-Based Marking”.  As students make incremental progress they can claim incremental marks, and are able to receive incremental feedback on their progress.  Each of the milestones is rated for difficulty – Easy, Standard, Hard or Challenging.  Easy milestones require less effort than Hard milestones, providing students with a clear guide as to how best to invest their time and effort.  This approach changes the nature of the assessment from a purely summative process to a largely formative process.  This approach has been used successfully across a number of units, with students indicating that they believe that the approach is fair, and that it better supports their learning.

Go to top

 

W2C2 Engineering Students or Student Engineers?
Euan Lindsay, Roger Munt, Helen Rogers, David Scott and Karen Sullivan; Curtin University of Technology

This paper reports on an innovative unit that embeds the acquisition of communication and professional skills into a technically based project.  The project revolves around two engineering artefacts: a popsicle-stick bridge and a mousetrap-powered car.  The design and construction of each artefact are conducted by different teams of students – each team designs a bridge and constructs a car, or vice versa.  The core principle behind this approach is requiring the students to act as Student Engineers, rather than as engineering students.  Requiring students to work both as designers and constructors introduces them to the different communication requirements of each role.  More powerfully, they also portray the role of the clients for each others’ engineering project, providing a valuable alternative perspective. The project has led to significant improvements in students’ communication skills as well as their development of their identities as professional engineers.

Go to top

 

W2C3 Calibrating Engineering Graduate Capabilities Against Assessment Tasks: A Preliminary Study
Long Nghiem and Maureen Bell; University of Wollongong

This paper investigated the connection between assessment tasks and graduate capabilities. Surveys conducted as part of this study revealed differences in planning for the development of, and student achievement of, graduate capabilities and that assessment tasks were valuable tools to guide and facilitate the development of intended graduate capabilities. Drawing from the obtained data, a prototype framework for curriculum design was proposed, allowing for better alignment of assessment tasks and graduate capability development in systematic subject design.

Go to top

 

W2C4 Hyperlinked Concept Map Enhancements for Electronic Study Materials
Mark Phythian and Jishu Das Gupta; University of Southern Queensland

The use of topic maps and concept maps has long been encouraged by instructional designers as a means of providing an overview of content in study materials. Educational theory and practice affirm the effectiveness of concept mapping: as a concise summary of a body of knowledge; as a practical means by which students can construct and record their own knowledge; and as a means of evaluating student understanding. This paper presents the aims, methodology and initial findings of a project commenced in Semester 1 2008, to include hyperlinked concept maps as an enhancement to electronic study materials. The project aims to evaluate their effectiveness: in improving student understanding of the concepts in the course; and as a means of navigating and accessing electronic study materials. The course of study is in the field of Microcomputer Design.

Go to top

 

W2C5 The Effectiveness of Using Self and Peer Assessment in Short Courses: Does it Improve Learning Outcomes?
Keith Willey and Anne Gardner; University of Technology, Sydney

The authors have previously reported the effectiveness of using self and peer assessment to improve learning outcomes.  It thoughtfully provides opportunities to practise, develop, assess and provide feedback on graduate attributes even within subjects where traditional discipline content is taught.  In this previous research we have shown that it is most beneficial to use self and peer assessment multiple times a semester.  In this paper we investigate whether it will be just as successful in achieving similar benefits when used in short courses.

Go to top