Deakin University
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Assessing students’ experiences in a virtual learning environment

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conference contribution
posted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sivachandran Chandrasekaran, Julius Orwa, John LongJohn Long
Technology has played an important role in the provision of educational equity for learners in
Australian communities. Engaging off-campus students through technology resources is vital for a
virtual learning environment in engineering education. To ensure a positive experience for the
students in off-campus (virtual) learning, the use of modern technology is crucial for collaborative and
active learning.
Design based education is a combination of project based and problem based approaches. Through
small or big projects, students work in teams with combinations of off-campus and on-campus
students. Integration of technology resources takes place within these groups through collaborative
learning and active learning. Even though the facilities and technology support are provided for offcampus
students, there is always a gap in fulfilling the off-campus students’ learning expectations in a
virtual learning environment. Technology plays an important role in providing student engagement in
solving design problems, which is a need for the distance learner community in future. The purpose of
this study is to evaluate students’ experiences on the use of technology in learning and teaching,
which is delivered in off-campus mode.
The cohorts of students involved in this online survey are from first year undergraduate engineering in
Trimester 2, 2016. The online survey analysis of students’ perceptions will help teaching staff to better
understand and assess off-campus students’ experiences, challenges and barriers in a virtual learning
The distance learners’ experiences are analysed from an online survey. This online survey analyses
the students’ experiences on use of technology and how it supports and enhances students learning in
distance mode. It also analyses the student learning experiences on project/design-based learning
approach in engineering. In this particular unit (Electrical Systems), students work in teams of 2-3 on
lab work and other assignments. The analysed results also discuss the students’ perceptions on
teamwork, communication, interaction and assessment.
The aim of the engineering curriculum is to provide learning and teaching support equally for both oncampus
and off-campus students. From the analysed survey results, this study reveals that the use of
technology plays a vital role in students learning from availability and accessibility of materials to
assessment methods, lab tutorials, and online seminars. In a project/design based learning
curriculum, the distance learners have an equal opportunity to enhance the learning skills as the oncampus
students experience in a study environment.



Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (27th : 2016 : Coffs Harbour, New South Wales)


1 - 12


Australasian Association for Engineering Education


Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

Place of publication

Canberra, A.C.T.

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2016, The Authors

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2016 : The Changing role of the engineering educator for developing the future engineer : Proceedings of the 27th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference

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