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[MUSIC] When teaching larger class sizes, an
online environment, can provide many opportunities for increased student
engagement, group work and self testing. In this case study, Professor Alan
Crosky from the University of New South Wales, explains how he uses a blended learning
approach, in his engineering materials and chemistry
course, with 700 first year students. Alan also highlights, the importance of
providing student orientation and support when first
introducing an online component. And discusses the benefits, of integrating
online resources and tutorials, group work, peer assessment, and self
testing in the course. >> The course is engineering materials and
chemistry. It's a foundation course for first year
engineering students. It's a blended learning course, and we
teach about 700 students a year in two cohorts. We used to run the labs with a demonstrator giving a mini-lecture
beforehand. The initiative was to improve that pre-lab
exercise by using computers and then eventually to transfer
that online. Once you start using your online environment
a lot, you also have to think it out, and you have to introduce
the students to the online environment. You can't just put the stuff up there and
say, you do it? And really, the more detailed you are
online, the less they're going to come back and
ask you questions. So, you're actually saving yourself a
whole lot of effort. The big point of orientation activity, is
intended to get them to walk through the online
environment. So, I actually walk through the online
environment in class. This particular course has a lot of
online material and it's necessary to give the students some sort of guidance as
to where they're going to find things. So, we get them to do some of what we call orientation exercises
studying in week one. We get them to actually submit something
online just to make sure they've got their browser setting
right and that's done here. We have [SOUND] help and FAQs. So, this is actually a link to the
discussion board and also I said a frequently answered
questions with hyperlinked answers. The other thing is there is no point having, a help board if it doesn't get
answered. So, so you got to answer it regularly and
they have to know how often you are going to
answer it. I answer it daily. I say to them not to use email
except for personal issues. For general things they post on the discussion board, because lots of other
people have the same problem and also, someone
might answer it quicker than I do. By doing all that, it does create a
community between you and the students. I guess the driver, initially, was to get
the tutorials online and we did a review of the course at the same time, and put some more online
materials in. So, the first tutorial I do, which is a graded tutorial, is the Tensile
Testing tutorial. This is actually what we see, when we do
that test. So, that's quite a rich animation. And then they can go back in here, and
click on the different paths, and there's a few
words about what's happening. I feel this is a very good example of a learning object. We have some self-test questions, the drag
and drops. We give them some numerical examples and,
the hyperlink solutions like so. The students love the flexibility. They can spend as long as they want in the
body of the tutorial so students with English as a second language
find it very useful to be able to work through it in their own
time. And go through it, as many times as they
want. [BLANK_AUDIO] The other thing we have that I'd like to
show you is a group project. First of all, we have the project details. This tells them what they're going to do. They put them into groups in week two. Have five people in each group. And, they have to come up with a group
contract. This is really to get their group
organised. And we provide, group discussion boards
in the groups section. And we also provide, a white board so each group, has a group discussion board. And, you can see, there's been 147
postings. We moderate the marks for individuals
using an online, peer assessment a system called
IPEA. [SOUND] And, they really have difficulty
with that, and again, I'll sort of sell it in class by saying, when
you leave here and are professional engineers, you're
going to have to review other people's work, and this is why we're getting you to do
this and also, we think that part of viewing other
people's work it makes you more objective, about your,
reviewing your own work. And anecodal evidence does indicate that it actually improves their
performance. And of course the third thing is, it
allows us to provide, more detailed feedback than
what we can ourselves. Now lots of people live a long way away,
they might just have my class and that's all on that day, they might spend three hours traveling each way to get
here. I could understand that they might [LAUGH]
go for another option. So, I'm all about flexibility, I think you
ought to provide it as flexibly as you can. Of course my course also caters for a lot of different
learning styles. We provide a whole lot of things in course
resources. There's lecture notes. We also record the lectures, video record
them, as well as voice record them. >> If we go away and do that experiment, we find that the materials in
the pink zone. >> We also put the lab sheets for
the lab, and we also have PDF versions of the assessable tutorials that they can download for
intro. Development of online materials is
very time consuming and, it's very difficult for academics to
do so, we had a dedicated
developer there who could assist the people develop the
online materials. The online environment does offer some
tremendous advantages for creating a community in online
learning that you can't create in class, and I
think it flows across in to the class. By virtue of the tutorial being online, we
only have to timetable one hour blocks for the labs, and that freed up the
timetabling immensely and has made our life a whole
easier. Online submission, is very useful because
you know who submitted, you know, things don't get lost, there's a
record of when they're submitted. The other thing is that, the grades have
actually improved considerably, we have really brought up the bottom, reduced the
failure rate of 50%. The online environment is particularly
useful, for large class teaching. Each student, opens his computer and is having a conversation with you through
that computer. Like, it allows it to be much more
personal. Breaking down these barriers, the us and them barriers
yeah you know we're all in this together. You're here to learn, and I'm here to help you, and I'm doing all these things to help
you. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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