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Type: Journal article
Title: Meeting the challenges of engineering education via online roleplay simulations
Author: Maier, H.
Citation: Australian Journal of Engineering Education, 2007; 13(1):31-39
Publisher: Australasian Association of Engineering Education
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 1325-4340
Statement of
HR Maier
Abstract: Engineering education is undergoing continuous change. Drivers for this change come from a number of sources, such as the K-12 pipeline (eg. school curricula, student attitudes towards science and engineering), the profession (eg. accreditation requirements, increasing globalisation and multidisciplinarity, increased emphasis on sustainability), government (eg. increasing student to staff ratios), internationalisation (eg. greater student diversity, geographically distributed student cohorts) and students (eg. the need to cater for 'Net Generation' learners). In order to meet the challenges posed by these changes, creative approaches to teaching that foster partnerships in engineering education are required. In this paper, one such approach is presented: online roleplay simulations. As part of online roleplay simulations, multiple learners adopt the roles of stakeholders with varying points of view and interact online about complex issues that do not have a single 'correct' outcome. This enables a number of the challenges faced by engineering educators to be met within a flexible, pedagogically sound framework. For example, use of online roleplay simulations facilitates the development of a range of generic graduate attributes in a manner that actively engages students. In addition, cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional partnerships can be developed to enable students and academic staff from different backgrounds to interact with each other. This not only improves student learning experiences and fosters academic staff development, but also enables vital resources to be shared between institutions. Because interactions occur online, provision can also be made for student cohorts that are becoming increasingly geographically distributed as a result of twinning arrangements and offshore campuses. Finally, online roleplay simulations also cater for the needs and learning styles of Net Generation learners (those born between 1982 and 1991), as they enable students to work on realistic problems in an environment that is rich in imagery, provides flexibility for time poor students and enables students to be socially connected. In this paper, the benefits of online roleplay simulations are illustrated with a case study: the Mekong e-Sim.
Description: Paper also published in Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: Creativity, Challenge, Change; Partnerships in Engineering Education, pp. 428-437.
Provenance: Reviewed paper originally presented at the AaeE 2006 Conference, Auckland University of Technology, 10-13 December.
RMID: 0020075605
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Appears in Collections:Civil and Environmental Engineering publications
Environment Institute publications

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