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Wednesday, June 18 • 1:30pm - 2:20pm
CON1.08 – Transforming First Year Engineering Student Experience Through Knowledge Sharing and Reciprocal Learning (Room A240)

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Engaging students in transformative learning processes is a complex task, often difficult to structure, and even more challenging to successfully achieve. Working with first year Engineering students in an integrated design and communication course, these challenges are sometimes exacerbated by a tradition of prior school education in which students are socialised by didactic teaching methods and examination based learning, as well as by the students own resistance to what they see as “learning” English. This discussion presents an innovative and evolving approach at one Australian university, aimed at creating a culture of knowledge sharing and reciprocal learning between students and tutors, tutors and lecturer, and lecturer and students. Course members are collectively involved in investigating an engineering topic through which students not only gain a strong grounding in oral, written, teamwork and graphical engineering communication but also develop skills of inquiry and self-directed learning. The method of instruction is what distinguishes this topic from others, with a scaffolded approach to reciprocal learning between the” teacher” (tutor educator) and the student forming the core of the approach. The tutor educator group is comprised of a mix of undergraduate students (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years), post-graduate students, and the topic coordinator (lecturer). Each year, from the 1st year student cohort in communications, a number of stand-out students are invited to continue on as tutors for the following year. This ensures the continued addition of fresh ideas and perspectives to the educator group, whilst still allowing the newer tutors to benefit from the more experienced tutors. Importantly, this approach has grown out of student-led directions which include peer lecturing, tutor-led workshops, the involvement of former graduates, and a pilot course on tutoring the tutors. This presentation discusses the perspectives of the tutor educator group on the educational approach and the success in achieving transformational learning through reciprocal learning.

Participants attending this session should be prepared to engage in some democratic, active learning experiences (some of which you may be familiar with, some of which may surprise you) devised and led by members of the tutor educator group.  Please, also, be prepared to contribute your own knowledge, experiences and ideas to the presenter’s on-going learning.

Wednesday June 18, 2014 1:30pm - 2:20pm EDT
A240 McArthur Hall

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