Use of online discussion groups to increase student understanding of global social and technical issues

Ayers, Ron (2005) Use of online discussion groups to increase student understanding of global social and technical issues. In: 4th ASEE/AaeE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education, 26-29 Sep 2005, Sydney, Australia.


Download (128Kb)


Most engineering programs at University of Southern Queensland are offered in both on-campus and distance education modes. The Faculty of Engineering and Surveying student cohort has consisted of approximately 25 percent on-campus and 75 percent distance education students for more than a decade. In recent years, the proportion of international students has increased markedly and now approximately 30 percent of students in both modes are from a non-Australian background. This paper describes how the national and cultural diversity of the student cohort has been utilized in an engineering course to increase student awareness and understanding of global social and technical issues. The method employed has been to use a component of the assessment scheme to require students to participate in an on-line discussion group where they share local information about issues relating to transport, a commodity which all students use in one form or another. The information the students are asked to research and share is factual knowledge drawn from their own experience and web research of local sites. The method was introduced after finding that many students in both modes of study had a fairly restricted understanding of many of the social and technical issues outside their own direct experience. The method has been well received by students and could be used in a variety of other courses where the student cohort features a range of social and cultural backgrounds.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 561
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with permission of publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:24
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: online discussion group, engineering education, social issues
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only