Using Virtual Reality In Tertiary Education

By Rudrajit Mitra and Serkan Saydam.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Professional engineers need to be able to apply university learning to practice. In particular, they have to take responsibility for interactions between technical systems and the complex social environments in which they operate. The most effective way of building this competency is through active experiential learning. The School of Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has developed and deployed immersive, interactive simulations for both the Australian mining engineering education and the mining industry. The School has developed an advanced educational integrated simulation system to provide mining engineering students with an interactive and immersive learning experience that is not otherwise possible. This provides students an authentic experience in working with industry software packages, while also contextualizing the learning in terms of the broader and longer-term impact of technical decisions. Interactive computer-based visualisation of mine environments has the potential to improve safety through improved understanding of mine environment hazards, procedures and processes relating to day-to-day operations. This technology has been used in undergraduate courses in order to establish its effectiveness in building systems thinking competencies for mining engineering. For postgraduate students and professionals, the same tools and methods can support studies of more challenging and complex scenarios where mining engineers have to place their decisions within complex global industry contexts. This paper will discuss the contribution that has been made by the School of Mining Engineering in the education sector.

Keywords: Mining Engineering, Education, Virtual Reality

International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.97-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 912.510KB).

Dr. Rudrajit Mitra

Senior Lecturer, School of Mining Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Rudrajit Mitra joined the School of Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales in July 2006. After completing his Bachelors in mining engineering in India, he moved to the US and completed his Masters at Penn State and PhD at Virginia Tech, both in mining engineering. His specialisation is the area of mine geomechanics. He is currently coordinator of the Virtual Reality facility and the Director of Undergraduate Studeies at the School of Mining Engineering, UNSW.

Assoc. Prof. Serkan Saydam

Associate Professor, School of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

He is a mining engineer with over twenty years of experience in research and mining projects in three countries/continents: Turkey, South Africa, and Australia. After working as a Research Assistant in Dokuz Eylul University (Turkey) where he completed his research-based Masters Degree and PhD, he spent four years in South Africa between 2002 and 2006: one year as Post Doctorate Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand three 3 years as a project manager in South Africa. In 2006, he joined UNSW’s School of Mining Engineering as a senior lecturer, and in 2011 he has been promoted to the associate professor level. In addition to his academic roles in the School, he is deputy director of research and academic coordinator of undergraduate scholarships. He is member of over 10 local and international committees.