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Designers Voice - Context


  The learning design focuses on self-assessment and correcting misconceptions about topics in engineering dynamics via the use of a computer program that presents graphical problems which students need to solve by predicting the outcome.

View the Learning Design Sequence for a graphical representation of this learning design.



  The activities that students are required to do in sequence are:
  1. Orientation to a content topic.
  2. Reinforce/consolidate understanding of concepts presented in the orientation materials by work through a number of problems in a web-based tutorial system.
  3. Record all working on the web tutorial problems in a note book, called a "log book".

These 3 activities are repeated in sequence a number of times throughout the subject...




The tutorial system is the main resource during the semester. It is commercial software called "FlyingFish" and was developed at the University of Western Australia...




The supports provided to the student includes: A printed handout...A set of web-based lecture notes ...Students are encouraged to work/discuss the problems in small groups...There is more to our learning environment than meets the eye. We have certain computer systems and practices but the personalities of the staff are also very important...

Comment from the Project Team...

The evaluators agree with the Designers that the nature of the support provided is a significant factor of the learning design's potential to foster high quality learning:

"With minimal information available to us, peer support tutorials seem to be valued – but whether it would happen in another circumstance or not is open to chance. We concur with the applicant’s comment re: the importance of the personality and commitment of the lecturers involved."



Setting Notes


Our tutorials are defined by the computer tutorial system. However there is still a traditional lecture series...




Ability to predict the short-term behaviour of simple physical systems in motion using taught methods...




Most of the assessment comes from the final exam. Therefore we see the remainder of the teaching activities as...


ICT Contribution


The initial problem we were trying to solve was , "how do we force the students to do lots of problems and come to all the tutorials...



Pedagogy Notes


As Engineers we are experimental and pragmatic. We do not think, "what can we do next in accordance with X theory?", we think, "what can we do to fix problem Y?"...




Professor Stone visited Professor Burks Oakley of UIUC in 1994. Burks had set up a tutorial system for his students in the subject of Electronics. His system was networked but not diagnostic...




Nathan Scott's Ph.D work was to study the effectiveness of our tutorial system as it was in 1995. The full text may be seen at...


Designer Debrief


When we first used online tutorial systems in 1995, we had no clear idea about collaborative behaviour. Within a few days of starting, however, it was obvious to us that students were going to work very closely together on the problems...


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