Transforming pedagogy from passive to active in science and engineering
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In an increasingly competitive global market, universities are competing for student enrolments in an environment where time-poor students are expecting technology to both reduce their contact hours and enhance their learning experience. To cater for students' expectations, nine academics in Curtin University's Faculty of Science and Engineering participated in a research study to determine the effect of reduced didactic, face-to-face lecture time and increased use of interactive technology and active learning in a unit of their choice. The units were diverse in terms of their discipline, enrolment size, year group and mode of delivery (e.g. offshore). During semester 1, 2013, academics participated in pre- and post-unit semi-structured interviews as they trialled different pedagogical approaches. The purpose of the interviews was to determine the types of pedagogical changes, problems encountered and to encourage reflection amongst the participants. Using a multiple case study method with cross-case comparison, the interview transcripts and students comments were analysed. The findings suggest that while the rationale for change varied, the changed pedagogical approaches led to an improvement in student engagement, increased student responsibility and increased attendance. Most academics, however, experienced difficulties with workload (increased) and difficulties with technology. The implications of these findings for other academics and disciplines will be presented.
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