Inspiring Learning

The School actively promotes and supports a culture of teaching excellence. In 2016 the School had four outstanding presentations at the UNSW  Learning and Teaching Forum, Towards 2025: Inspiring Learning.

  • Geospatial technologies enhancing Surveying education through project based learning (Dr Craig Roberts, Dr Bruce Harvey and Dr Yincai Zhou);
  • Learning Engineering practice through partnership - The Mer Project (Prof Richard Stuetz and Stephen Moore, and Charlotte Wang, Environmental Engineering student);  
  • A partnership between UNSW and Engineers Without Borders enhances the student learning experience (Dr Rita Henderson, Chemical Engineering, and Dr Fiona Johnson, CVEN with EWB students);
  • Enhanced learning through undertaking scaled construction projects in laboratory environments (Dr Johnson Xuesong Shen, and Adem Abdioglu, Civil Engineering Student).

The October 2016 Forum aimed to bring together the university community to explore and engage with the UNSW 2025 strategic priority of teaching excellence.  27 UNSW presenters and 37 poster authors shared their practice, experience and wisdom on how they have approached improving the educational experience of students and inspiring learning, through assessment and feedback strategies, grand challenges and partnerships, teaching excellence, work integration, curriculum and program design, digital innovation, and equity/diversity and inclusion.

 

Staff Inspiring Learning

School presentations were on the following topics.

Assessment and Feedback Strategies

1. Geospatial technologies enhancing Surveying education through project based learning

Dr Craig Roberts, Dr Bruce Harvey and Dr Yincai Zhou, Civil and Environmental Engineering

GMAT4150 (Field Project 2) is a final year, capstone course in the Bachelor of Engineering (Surveying) program. It has been running for many years and provides project-based opportunities for students to exercise knowledge they have learnt in the program and extend their expertise in specific disciplines. There are no lectures, no exams, lots of self-directed learning and group work. Academic staff act as clients and prepare project briefs. The student group organises itself as consultants (usually appointing a managing director), coordinates the work and provides project reports as per specifications. In 2016 students conducted a UAV 3D modelling survey of the Helensburgh waste facility management centre, laser scanned a weighbridge on-site and performed a preliminary cadastral boundary survey of the extremities of the site using an array of original survey plans combined with modern geo-cadastral modelling software with assistance from industry.

Presentation slides

Global Impact/Partnerships

2. Learning Engineering practice through partnership - The Mer Project

Prof Richard Stuetz and Stephen Moore, and Charlotte Wang, Environmental Engineering student, Civil and Environmental Engineering

CVEN4701 - Planning Sustainable Infrastructure (www.mer.unsw.edu.au) is a 4th year course in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It requires students in their final year to engage in a project that simulates the work they will do in professional practice, by applying the knowledge gained in 2nd and 3rd year courses to a realistic problem; causing them to integrate previously separately taught infrastructure components and recognising the broader concepts of sustainability that includes social, economic and environmental perspectives. The course was established in 2009 and in 2015 formed a partnership with Nura Gili whereby the course progressed from hypothetical problems to students engaging with a real client: the community on Murray "Mer" Island, home of Eddy Mabo. Student groups participated in a Design Competition (assessed using a range of assignment formats: technical reports, showcase poster, project management and summary video) to best meet the needs of this remote community, with industry partners and representative from the Murray Island. The Showcase Event was held at Nura Gili (http://www.mer.unsw.edu.au/news/planning-sustainable-infrastructure-showcase). In 2015, the winning group presented their solution in person on Murray Island (http://www.mer.unsw.edu.au/news/a-week-on-mer-island-deepening-the-dialogue-about-sustainable-infrastructure).

Presentation slides

3. A partnership between UNSW and Engineers Without Borders enhances the student learning experience

Dr Rita Henderson, School of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Dr Fiona Johnson, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Experiential learning is widely recognized to actively engage students by enabling them to make connections between class activity and real-life. Since the beginning of 2014, an on-going collaboration with EWB has allowed UNSW students to apply their engineering skills to solve actual humanitarian problems. A major initiative has been the integration of the EWB Challenge in the 1st Year course ENGG1000: Engineering Design and Innovation. The Challenge design brief, developed in consultation with community partners, has students collaborating on topics including provision of clean drinking water and climate change adaptation; their solutions are provided back to the partner for possible implementation. The partnership has also led to the participation of students on the EWB Design Summit (Cambodia) and many are electing to undertaken their Honours thesis in partnership with EWB. UNSW students are developing skills that will enable them to contribute directly to global Grand Challenges while enhancing their student learning experience.

Presentation slides

4. Enhanced learning through undertaking scaled construction projects in laboratory environments

Dr Johnson Xuesong Shen, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Adem Abdioglu, Civil Engineering Student

The lack of field knowledge presents significant challenges for students in learning advanced topics in construction engineering and project management. Also, running construction site tours for large classes is practically difficult due to workplace safety concerns and limited space. This talk will discuss the development of an innovative and interactive scaled construction learning and teaching platform used to mimic an earthmoving construction site / surface mining site in the laboratory. Numerous learning exercises have been developed based on the platform and introduced to CVEN4102 Operations and Projects and CVEN9723 Design of Construction Projects since 2015. The laboratory was found to considerably enrich the students’ learning experience and sharpen their critical thinking and problem solving skills in safe laboratory environment.

Presentation slides

More information about the 2016 Learning and Teaching Forum, Towards 2025: Inspiring Learning is available here:

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