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Physics practicals for distance education in an undergraduate engineering course

conference contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by John LongJohn Long, W Stannard, K Chenery, Matthew JoordensMatthew Joordens
BACKGROUND : Providing engineering practicals to undergraduates by means of distance education is a significant challenge. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development of the distance education. For many years, Deakin University has offered a full Bachelor of Engineering degree programme via distance education. All first-year students study a unit in physics. This unit includes practicals. Providing practical experiences to students is distance education’s greatest challenge.

PURPOSE : The purpose of this work was to develop the means for off-campus students to complete practical exercises in first-year engineering physics. The solution to the problem also had to comply with accreditation requirements set by Engineers Australia.

METHOD : The long-term solution to the problem was running on-campus lab classes either on weekends or as part of the annual first-year residential school for engineering professional practice. Students work was assessed by means of standard laboratory reports. On-campus marks and off-campus lab marks have been collected and compared over the past 12 years.

RESULTS : The results indicate that the off-campus lab experience is similar to the on-campus experience. Marks for the two cohorts were comparable. Those few students who completed their pracs at home faced and overcame significant challenges.

CONCLUSIONS : We found that performance in their lab reports for off-campus students was similar to that of the on-campus students. Accreditation requirements has shifted the focus from developing activities that students could perform at home to offering timely and efficient on-campus lab classes for off-campus students. Future work will focus on on-campus lab classes in accordance with accreditation requirements and perhaps on-line broadcasts of prac classes for those students who cannot attend lab on-campus.

History

Pagination

691-701

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

Start date

2012-12-03

End date

2012-12-05

ISBN-13

9780987177230

Language

eng

Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2012, The Authors

Editor/Contributor(s)

Mann L, Daniel S

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2012 : The profession of engineering education, advancing teaching, research and careers : Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education

Event

Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (23rd : 2012 : Melbourne, Australia)

Publisher

ESER group, Swinburne University of Technology

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

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