Effectiveness of on-line resources to enhance student learning and engagement

Fernando, Achela K. & Egodawatta, Prasanna K. (2014) Effectiveness of on-line resources to enhance student learning and engagement. In 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : Engineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement & Employability, Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 537-545.

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For engineering graduates to be work-ready with marketable skills they must not only be well-versed with engineering science and its applications, but also able to adapt to using commercial software that is widely used in engineering practice. Hydrological/hydraulic modelling is one aspect of engineering practice which demands the ability to apply fundamentals into design and construction using software. The user manuals for such software are usually tailored for the experienced engineer but not for undergraduates who typically are novices to concepts of modelling and software tools. As the focus of a course such as Advanced Water Engineering is on the wider aspects of engineering application of hydrological and hydraulic concepts, it is ineffective for the lecturers to direct the students to user manuals as students have neither the time nor the desire to sift through numerous pages in a manual. An alternative and efficient way to demonstrate the use of the software is enabling students to develop a model to simulate real-world scenario using the tools of the software and directing them to make informed decisions based on outcomes.


Past experience of the lecturer showed that the resources available for the students left a knowledge gap leading to numerous student queries outside contact hours. The purpose of this study is to assess how effective purpose-built video resources can be in supplementing the traditional learning resources to enhance student learning.


Short-length animated video clips comprising guided step-by-step instructions were prepared using screen capture software to capture screen activity and later edited to focus on specific features using pop-up annotations; Vocal narration was purposely excluded to avoid disturbances due to noise and allow different learning paces of individual students. The video clips were made available to the students alongside the traditional resources/approaches such as in-class demonstrations, guideline notes, and tips for efficient and error-free procedural descriptions. The number of queries the lecturer received from the student cohort outside the lecture times was recorded. An anonymous survey to assess the usefulness and adequacy of the courseware was conducted.


While a significant decline in the number of student queries was noted, an overwhelming majority of the survey respondents confirmed the usefulness of the purpose-developed courseware.


The survey and lecturer’s experience indicated that animated demonstration video clips illustrating the various steps involved in developing hydrologic and hydraulic models and simulating design scenarios is an effective supplement for traditional learning resources. Among the many advantages of the custom-made video clips as a learning resource are that they (1) highlight the aspects that are important to undergraduate learning but not available in the software manuals as the latter are designed for more mature users/learners; (2) provide short, to-the point communication in a step-by-step manner; (3) allow students flexibility to self-learn at their own pace; (4) enhance student learning; and (5) enable time savings for the lecturer in the long term by avoiding queries of a repetitive nature. It is expected that these newly developed resources will be improved to incorporate students’ suggestions before being offered to future cohorts of students. The concept can also be expanded to other relevant courses where animated demonstrations of key modelling steps are beneficial to student learning.

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ID Code: 87525
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: On-Line Learning Resources, Screen Capture Software, Annotated Video Clips, HERN
ISBN: 9780473304287
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 A. K. Fernando & P.K. Egodawatta
Deposited On: 17 Sep 2015 00:46
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2015 18:31

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