Reflective writing by distance education students in an engineering problem based learning course

Brodie, Lyn (2007) Reflective writing by distance education students in an engineering problem based learning course. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 13 (2). pp. 31-40. ISSN 1324-5821


The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is a regional university and is also Australia’s largest provider of distance education, winning national and international awards for its flexible programs. Currently in the university, over three quarters of the student body are enrolled in the distance mode and study off campus. The USQ Faculty of Engineering and Surveying in a curriculum review introduced a strand of four courses using Problem Based Learning (PBL). PBL is a successful concept implemented in a number of faculties and disciplines worldwide largely in response to criticisms of traditional engineering education. However there are few references to PBL being delivered entirely to distance engineering students working in virtual teams. The role of reflections and the reflective process was seen as critical to the success of student learning in a PBL course and was integrated into the assessment schedule. The reflections of the distance education students in the first PBL course were analysed for evidence of learning and depth of reflection. Results indicated that neither students nor facilitators (the academics providing support for each team) had a clear understanding of the process of reflection. Initially students wrote mostly in the ‘retell’ mode. Little evidence of critical analysis or evaluation of the team project, team processes or individual learning was evident in their reflections. A significant discrepancy between markers and a clear understanding of the requirement and benefits of reflective writing was also apparent. Possible solutions to these issues are discussed.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2008 01:21
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 02:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: Problem Based Learning, PBL, distance education, reflection, higher education research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation

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