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Technologies for STEM learning

Visual Interactive Learning of Engineering Concepts

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

The project developed a visual interactive learning method to help engineering student to understand basic concepts. Many engineering concepts explain the relationships between various parameters. These includes how a condition parameter affects the property parameters and how a property parameter affects the performance parameters. It is not only boring to remember those relationships in their mathematical format but more importantly difficult to map the concept to engineering practical cases. Traditionally, demonstrative experiments have been used to assist students to learn and digest the concepts. This is not only costly but frequently unable to be setup. For example, it is very difficult to use an experiment to show students that the stress has been concentrated in the cracking area in components during loading. However, if students can see the phenomena by themselves during learning and witness the correspondence of a parameter to the change of another interactively, the concept will be easier to understand and better to digest. Interactive computer vision is a method to address the problem.        

The computing community in UK and the world has produced vast amount of code package and data to simulation engineering problem for research purpose. Many code packages are free to use for academic purposes. The publication of the raw data for sharing and further implementation becomes an increasing requirement by many journals. Those resources could be used in teaching to assist engineering students to achieve better understanding of the engineering problems, aware of novel solutions and get insight to the fundamental mechanisms.    

The sprint of the method is to have an interactive interface so that students are able to change the parameters in whatever ways they liked and to view and analyse the change of other related parameters in a virtual three-dimensional environment. This helps student to summarize and then build up a relationship between parameters in the engineering problem. From the visual interactive learning, the fundamental concepts are formed naturally in students’ mind at more enjoyable manner. We have built up three cases during the period of this scholarship project.  

Related resources

Qin, R. (2021) Visual Interactive Learning of Engineering Concepts. eSTEeM Final Report (PDF).

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

Does the provision of an `own working space’ for tutors enhance the learning experience for students

Project leader(s): 
Hayley Ryder and Toby O'Neil
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

Adobe Connect has replaced OULive as the OU’s online tuition delivery tool and the current university plan is for tutors to work in shared online rooms for cohort/cluster-wide events. There is significant concern (particularly amongst tutors) that this will not work well since Adobe Connect rooms appears to be designed around the assumption that each room is controlled by a single individual. However, it is also not clear that individual rooms (that are accessible by students outside the tutor’s own group) can work with LEM. For this presentation on M303 we have permission to trial individual rooms for tutors that are open to the whole cohort of students (about 150 students). We hope that providing an individually `owned’ virtual workplace for tutors will enable them to feel more confident about using Adobe connect (if they are nervous about the online tuition) and to be more innovative if they are already confident.

This trial will investigate whether individually owned learning spaces acts as an enabler and results in tutors feeling more confident about tutorials. As a result, the University will gain knowledge about whether individual rooms are a viable alternative to shared ones. We will do this by using semi structured interviews with tutors to ask what they did in their AC rooms during the presentation (and whether they could have done these things in a shared room) and to evaluate how they felt about using the individual work spaces on M303. Using semi structured interviews will enable us to dig down into any individual innovations tried by the tutors and investigate why they felt able to try this on M303 (i.e. did the ownership of the space make a difference).