Effective designing of a blended teaching strategy for creating a solid foundation in learning and improving student engagement
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Blended teaching is becoming increasingly common in higher education to deliver a student centred, flexible, self-paced, multi-modal approach to learning. However, the effectiveness of a blended teaching approach depends on various design competencies and skills which are required for effective fusion or mixing in course delivery. Teaching should be geared towards allowing students to understand a concept such that the knowledge becomes internalised, enabling memory of difficult concepts to occur effortlessly. Mass Transfer Operation 321 and Advanced Separation Processes 422 are core chemical engineering units which demand extensive and current knowledge of various processes in chemical and allied process industries. My challenge is to replace the student's perception that "Mass Transfer Operation and Separation Processes are very difficult units, lots to know and remember", with "relevant, easy, interesting and important units which will enhance student's positive learning experience", by creating a meaningful learning environment. To achieve this I use various active learning competencies involving lecturing theory with various equipment protocol model displays, a series of interactive, real life problem solving workshop sessions and group projects, feedback to students, visible grading to students, and application of Blackboard/Web-CT availability of full digital course and other effective resource materials. Students' opinions (obtained via eV ALU ate, Curtin's online system for gathering student perceptions of their learning experiences) on these units reflect favourably the use of various innovative teaching approaches during 2008 to 2013, and indicate overall high satisfaction as very high positive learning experience exceeding the University and faculty agreement.
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