Creating efficiencies in teaching : where are the right resources when you need them?

Boles, Wageeh, King, Robin, Hadgraft, Roger, & Lowe, David (2013) Creating efficiencies in teaching : where are the right resources when you need them? In Lemckert, Charles, Jenkins, Graham, & Lang-Lemckert, Susan (Eds.) 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2013), Griffith School of Engineering, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.


Early career engineering academics are encouraged to join and contribute to established research groups at the leading edge of their discipline. This is often facilitated by various staff development and support programs. Given that academics are often appointed primarily on the basis of their research skills and outputs, such an approach is justified and is likely to result in advancing the individual academic’s career. It also enhances their capacity to attract competitive research funding, while contributing to the overall research performance of their institution, with further potential for an increased share of government funding.

In contrast, there is much less clarity of direction or availability of support mechanisms for those academics in their role as teachers. Following a general induction to teaching and learning at their institution, they would commonly think about preparing some lecture materials, whether for delivery in a face-to-face or on-line modality. Typically they would look for new references and textbooks to act as a guide for preparing the content. They would probably find out how the course has been taught before, and what laboratory facilities and experiments have been used. In all of these and other related tasks, the majority of newly appointed academics are guided strongly by their own experiences as students, rather than any firm knowledge of pedagogical principles. At a time of increased demands on academics’ time, and high expectations of performance and productivity in both research and teaching, it is essential to examine possible actions to support academics in enhancing their teaching performance in effective and efficient ways.

Many resources have been produced over the years in engineering schools around the world, with very high intellectual and monetary costs. In Australia, the last few years have seen a surge in the number of ALTC/OLT projects and fellowships addressing a range of engineering education issues and providing many resources. There are concerns however regarding the extent to which these resources are being effectively utilised. Why are academics still re-inventing the wheel and creating their own version of teaching resources and pedagogical practice? Why do they spend so much of their precious time in such an inefficient way?

A symposium examining the above issues was conducted at the AAEE2012 conference, and some pointers to possible responses to the above questions were obtained. These are explored in this paper and supplemented by the responses to a survey of a group of engineering education leaders on some of the aspects of these research questions.

The outcomes of the workshop and survey results have been analysed in view of the literature and the ALTC/OLT sponsored learning and teaching projects and resources. Other factors are discussed, including how such resources can be found, how their quality might be evaluated, and how assessment may be appropriately incorporated, again using readily available resources. This study found a strong resonance between resources reuse with work on technology acceptance (Davis, 1989), suggesting that technology adoption models could be used to encourage resource sharing.

Efficient use of outstanding learning materials is an enabling approach. The paper provides some insights on the factors affecting the re-use of available resources, and makes some recommendations and suggestions on how the issue of resources re-use might be incorporated in the process of applying and completing engineering education projects.

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ID Code: 65900
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Learning resources, Resources re-use, Technology enabled learning, Student centred learning, HERN
ISBN: 9780992409913
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > OTHER ENGINEERING (099900) > Engineering not elsewhere classified (099999)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 W Boles, R King, R Hadgraft, D Lowe
Copyright Statement: The authors assign to AAEE and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grant a non-exclusive licence to AAEE to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web (prime sites and mirrors), on Memory Sticks, and in printed form within the AAEE 2013 conference proceedings. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.
Deposited On: 10 Jan 2014 00:40
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2014 23:15

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