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Technologies for STEM learning

The impact of live streaming module-wide events in student engagement and motivation

Project leader(s): 
Linda Thomson and Maria Velasco
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Archived
Body: 

S111 was first presented in 16J as the new online only introductory interdisciplinary module in science.  As part of its tuition strategy, S111 provided a series of “Discover more about…” interactive labcasts (one for each subject discipline) and a live science debate. These module-wide events are delivered by central academics and recordings are available post event. 

The aims of these tutorials were:

  • To help build a science community early on in the students studies;
  • To improve retention and progression by helping students with their subject choices;
  • To provide opportunities for students to engage directly with the central module team (and vice-versa);
  • To demonstrate research-led teaching by allowing students to engage with current research and topical issues.

While these events were perceived to be successful in 16J, this is only based on the numbers of students attending live and watching recordings, plus anecdotal students’ comments. 

This project would allow the module-wide events to be fully evaluated.  The evaluation will include widgets on Stadium during live events and surveys and follow up interviews post-events. The aim would be to give a greater understanding of student engagement with these events to have a greater understanding of how students use these to support their learning.  This would help tailor and justify the value of live events.  On a practical basis, it will influence the frequency and timing of these events in later presentations, initially for S111, but findings may also impact on other modules.

S111 has two presentations and for 17J/18B the above events will be combined and delivered once.  Another change is that the live debate is no longer exclusively for S111 and will be for the wider community of science students.  By surveying different cohorts of students, the project will also investigate whether these changes are appropriate or not. Results will directly feed into the tuition strategy for later presentations. 

Bradshaw, K., Thomson, L. and Velasco, M. (2019) The impact of live streaming module-wide events in student engagement and motivation. Best poster winner at the 8th eSTEeM Annual Conference, 8-9 May 2019 (PDF)

Visual Interactive Learning of Engineering Concepts

Project leader(s): 
Rongshan Qin
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

The proposal seeks to develop the three-dimensional visual interactive learning software to help engineering students to understand some fundamental concepts. During years of teaching in engineering discipline we have noticed the significant difficult when student were learning and digesting those concepts, for examples the stress concentration around inclusions/cracks, dynamic heat distribution in 3D materials, up-slope diffusion in materials fabrication, etc. Experimental illustration helps in certain extents but often insufficient due to the restriction of dynamic property measurement. Therefore, we propose to develop a visual interactive learning toolkit to address these problems. The toolkit will be a three-dimensional visual interactive software to be developed using JAVA3D to enable students to simulate the engineering questions, to choose various parameters to affect the system, to record the evolution of properties and to compare the observation with the description in teaching materials.

This proposal will provide a proof of concept study. We intend to identify 3 representative but correlative examples from OU materials modules, namely T176, T276 and T357, and to develop the visual interactive learning toolkits to help students understanding those concepts. Each toolkit, after the development and passing of our preliminary trial, will be passed to students for volunteer trial. The toolkits and user instructions will be available at a website and the links to the webpage will be provided to students who are taking those modules for volunteer trial. Demonstration and practical session will be available at residential school as one of the night activities. Feedback will be collected from the users via questionnaires. Modification will be made according to feedbacks.

The toolkits fit into the online study and will support students understanding engineering courses. Students will use the toolkits for better understanding of the concepts, improving their capability in doing homework and implementing it to work-related applications.  

Rongshan Qin poster

Pilot trial of a smart phone App for ascertaining water quality

Project leader(s): 
Suresh Nesaratnam and Shahram Taherzadeh
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Archived
Body: 

An important aspect of studying a technological module such as T868 Environmental monitoring and protection, is the acquisition of practical skills. Normally such skills are taught through practical sessions in a laboratory. Sometimes they are taught in the field. In distance teaching, they can be taught through the use of home experiment kits. Now an opportunity has arisen with the ubiquity of smart phones and mobile Apps, for students to get hands-on experience of field measurements. A pilot trial of one such App, used in conjunction with test-strips, was undertaken in late 2018. The App selected for use was one that was freely available and is utilised for monitoring and managing water quality in swimming pools and spas. The success of the trial offers the possibility of using Apps in developing students’ practical skills and techniques of data analysis whilst studying environmental protection.

Related resources

Nesaratnam, S. and Taherzadeh, S. (2019) Pilot trial of a smart phone App for ascertaining water quality. eSTEeM Final Report (PDF)

Nesaratnam, S. and Taherzadeh, S. (2018) presentation