Learning surveying and developing fieldwork skills through workshop
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Structured Abstract BACKGROUND Nowadays, online mode of teaching is preferable over traditional instructor-led approach. This is because it attracts far distance students and thereby generating income for an institution on the one hand, and on the other hand, it responds to the needs of the students by enabling them to share resources, thereby reducing costs and saving time (see, e.g., Dewstow et al. 2000). But still, there are areas of study that require the traditional instructor-led mode of teaching (see e.g., Abbaszadeh et al. 2011), where fieldwork is needed, e.g., in civil engineering surveying. The justification for actual field participation is that the student must have hands-on experience in operating surveying equipment, in addition to undertaking the actual tasks. The workshop session prior to fieldwork provides such understandings about the actual field task. PURPOSE The purpose of this study is to investigate how workshop develops surveying fieldwork skills for civil engineering students and improve their learning as field surveyors. Further, the study demonstrates a continuous process of improvement in practical surveying. METHOD Several workshop sessions were introduced prior to each field tasks in Civil Engineering Surveying unit at Curtin University. An anonymous questionnaire survey was conducted for all the students attending their last workshop. A structured questionnaire of 8 questions was prepared, reviewed by peers and validated by a group of previous students. The students were asked to put their agreement in a way similar to Curtin’s eVALUate system. The survey data were analysed statistically using the confidence interval and percentage frequency methods to check the students’ feedback in relation to learning outcomes and fieldwork skills development. The overall students’ performances were also analysed to assess the impact of the workshops. RESULTS The highest student satisfaction (97%) shows that the workshop plays an important role in achieving overall learning outcomes, an argument that is also reflected in the exam performances. The majority of students who participated in the questionnaire could correlate theory to the fieldwork, gain surveying instrument knowledge, improve critical thinking skills and make them prepared for exam. The overall satisfaction of the students was strongly related to the five major attributes such as, correlate theory, instrument knowledge, critical thinking skills, fieldwork skills and exam preparation. The least agreement was found for handling of unseen problems and communication skills. CONCLUSIONS This study found that a workshop session prior to fieldwork in Civil Engineering Surveying provides better learning outcomes than a lecture session only. The overall satisfaction of the students about workshop was strongly correlated to five major attributes such as, correlate theory, instrument knowledge, critical thinking skills, fieldwork and exam preparation. The least agreement was found in communication skills which indicate that the workshop learning process needs further development for communication skills in field-based learning in Civil Engineering Surveying.
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