Exploring Ideas for Innovations in the Educational Technology at a Regional Campus in Western Australia
Recent budget allocations to tertiary education sector are challenging many universities, especially small regional campuses, to explore the use of innovative ways for delivering more cost efficient teaching services, and providing their students with improved teaching/learning environment. This paper describes continuous efforts in teaching, research and training diverse groups of science students at a regional campus in Western Australia. One efficient way to reduce financial expenses associated with practical experimental work and laboratory activities was to develop and use proprietary softwares for teaching technology related subjects. This allowed involving the students in real life like prototyping activities, through modelling and simulations, resulting later in production of the real products that suited to their interest. Results showed that the effectiveness was in development of flexible teaching delivery, sustainable cost efficient learning environment and improvements in the following measures: unit organisation, learning scope, evaluation of learning resources and context and overall satisfaction. The overall students’ satisfaction (OS) increased and standard deviations (SD) decreased in the following order: conventional face to face teaching approach in 2004 resulted in OS=47% and SD=9.46%; introduction of product prototyping through calculations in 2006 resulted in OS=54.4% and SD=4.39%, and computer simulations coupled with product prototyping in 2007/08 resulted in OS=98.6% and SD=3.13%. This type of teaching approach and real life like product outcomes attracted an interest of local industrial renowned companies and resulted in development of successful grants which involve both the ECU-SW lecturer and his students. This confirms strong potentials in enhancing teaching practices with computer assisted predictions. We found that proprietary software can easily be modified to different teaching and learning scenarios in order to serve and suit a larger group of diverse students, and like to share the findings with other academics through conference forum(s).
Keywords: Technology Education, Computer-Assisted Training, Product Development
Dr. J Audy
Senior Lecturer in Science - Coordinator of Diploma in Science, Faculty of Regional Professional Studies, Edith Cowan University