High praise for online learning
Learning & Teaching
An on-line roleplay simulation that gives engineering students the opportunity to learn real-world skills has just won its creators another major award.
The Mekong eSim project, developed by Associate Professor Holger Maier for Civil and Environmental Engineering students, won the High Commendation from the Australasian Association for Engineering Education in the Curriculum Team Project Category of the Excellence in Engineering Education Awards.
Dr Maier developed the Mekong eSim with Dr Rob McLaughlan from the University of Technology, Sydney and in collaboration with Judi Baron, Allan Carrington and Dayle Hall from the University of Adelaide's Centre for Learning and Professional Development.
This is the eSim developers' fourth award, and Dr Maier's commitment and skills in engineering education have also been recognised by the University of Adelaide with a Stephen Cole the Elder prize for excellence in teaching in 2002.
"Developing engineering graduate attributes of communication, teamwork, sustainability and multidisciplinary and international practice is not an easy task in a traditional classroom setting," Dr Maier said.
"As the students adopt the roles of various stakeholders participating in public enquiries surrounding proposed engineering developments in the Mekong region in South-East Asia, they see the project from multiple perspectives and gain an understanding of the complexity of engineering projects and the drivers in decision-making processes.
"The Mekong eSim helps students learn that engineering is not about sitting at a desk with a calculator. It's about communicating."
The concept of the eSim as a learning and teaching tool has broad applications and Ms Sheila Kavanagh, a Burns Nurse educator from the University of Adelaide's Department of Clinical Nursing, has developed a "Disaster Down Under" eSim to assist nursing students to develop experience in emergency burns nursing practice and decision-making.
Ms Kavanagh, who received an Order of Australia for her part in the response to the 2002 Bali bombing, understands that having experience in emergency response is critical to the success of a recovery from a major incident or disaster and has worked with Dr Maier to develop this eSim to give students a chance to work through the issues they might one day have to face in a real-life situation.
Story by Lisa Reid