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Teaching and Assessment Strategies for Large Classes in Engineering that Encourage and Motivate Students to Learn Threshold Concepts Effectively – 17 May 2011, 1-2pm, Goodsell LG19

Posted by on June 7th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Dr. Gangadhara Prusty, Engineering

In large and diverse groups of students, it is often difficult to identify and help the students who are struggling. In 1st year Engineering Mechanics 1 (>275 students) and 2nd year Solid Mechanics 1 (>300 students) at UNSW, Dr Ganga Prusty has used a blend of online and face-to-face teaching to help students learn threshold concepts needed to progress in their studies.

Dr. Prusty combines traditional classroom teaching with use of a new online teaching tool – the Adaptive eLearning Platform, to create a learning environment for 21st century multi-tasking, netgen students, who learn differently from their predecessors. The result is a smooth and enjoyable learning process which goes beyond the ‘book and board’ and engages and stimulates students to learn and achieve. Evidence of the effectiveness of the approach includes a significant reduction in failure rates, improved student satisfaction with the courses and improved performance in subsequent courses.

Dr. Prusty is leading a project entitled “An adaptive eLearning community of practice for mechanics courses in engineering” funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), in which the Adaptive eLearning Platform is being evaluated across several universities for learning of threshold concepts in engineering mechanics. The technology supports interactive virtual laboratory activities (simulations) through which teachers can diagnose common conceptual sticking points in large classes – sticking points that would otherwise only be picked up by skilled one-to-one coaching.

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