The next paper I want to share is from a fantastic pilot project I was involved in at The University of Western Australia. I worked with some great people on the project. The paper was originally presented at a conference, but not subsequently published. Time to rectify.
by Karin Oerlemans and Eric F. May
The paper reports the findings of a two year pilot study introducing blended learning in a school of engineering at a major Australian university. The school has been developing a blended learning Masters course since 2005. Blended learning denotes the blend of face-to-face with web-supported learning, promising to offer globally disparate students educational access. In the pilot project two interactive e-learning lecture presentations covering a fundamental engineering concept were developed and delivered via the University’s learning management system, followed by a face-to-face workshop. A short assessment was included to check students’ understanding of the topic, followed by a question in the unit exam.
The purpose of the study was gain a greater understanding of how students learn and access their learning in a blended environment. The pilot sought to evaluate, on a small scale, the development of course materials in the larger Masters project. The results showed that blended learning offers opportunities for deep and persistent learning in an online environment when well designed and developed, but also raised a number of questions, which are further explored in the paper.
Interactive learning environments; blended learning; authoring tools and methods; higher education; engineering education; pedagogical issues