A Collaborative Approach to Mining Education in Australia

By Serkan Saydam, Rudrajit Mitra, Chris Daly and Paul Hagan.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

Three major mining education providers implemented in 2007 a highly innovative approach to educating mining engineers in Australia with the establishment of Mining Education Australia (MEA). In July 2006 a Joint Venture Agreement was signed between the three universities: Curtin University of Technology, The University of New South Wales, and The University of Queensland. An important aspect of MEA is the linkage with industry which through the Minerals Council of Australia has provided significant financial support. MEA is a world first collaborative undergraduate mining program that provides a common curriculum for the final two years of the four year degree program. The program has incorporated a range of collaborative teaching and learning tools. For example as each partner university has a different learning management system, MEA registered its own web domain within Moodle in mid-2007. In 2008 the majority of the courses used Moodle as the common learning management system in MEA. Most MEA courses also use a project and/or problem based learning approach resulting in more group work by students. This required a strategy to ensure group work standards were consistent across the program including peer assessment. As part of this, MEA trialed different peer assessment tools such as iPeer and SPARK and is investigating new tools for learning/teaching such as online and digitally mediated tools. This paper describes the collaboration success of MEA and also discusses the teaching and learning management systems and peer assessment tools used across the MEA universities.

Keywords: Collaboration, Innovative Teaching Program, Problem Based Learning, Peer Assessment, Learning Systems

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp.13-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.723MB).

Assoc. Prof. Serkan Saydam

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

Serkan Saydam is a Mining Engineer with over 15 years experience in research and education. He received his BSc (1992), MSc (1995) and PhD (2000) degrees from the Mining Engineering Department, Dokuz Eylul University in Turkey. He worked for the same department as a research assistant for 10 years. In 2002, he joined as a post-doctoral fellow for one year at the School of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. From 2003 to 2006 he was employed by De Beers Group in the Mining Research Department in Johannesburg as a Project Manager. He is currently employed by the School of Mining Engineer, University of New South Wales as a Senior Lecturer. He is also Postgraduate Research Coordinator of School of Mining Engineering and Member of Faculty Higher Degree Committee in University of New South Wales.

His fields of research interest include Geomechanics (Ground Support), Mine Planning & Design, Project Management, Collaborative Learning & Teaching, Peer Assessment.

Dr. Rudrajit Mitra

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 Geomechanics and Ventilation. He is also working as part of Mining Education Australia focussing a lot on student collaborative techniques.

Dr. Chris Daly

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

I am a Senior Lecturer in Mining Engineering at the University of NSW in Sydney, Australia with strong interest in student centred learning. Member and chair of a number of teaching and learning committees within the Faculty of Engineering and University of NSW. Have won teaching awards for teaching excellence including the prestigious Carrick Citation group award. I am especially interested in the provision of a quality learning environment across institutions separated by considerable distance. In addition I am interested in approaches to learning that foster collaboration including cross institutional projects, on line role plays and student peer review and peer assessment.

Dr. Paul Hagan

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

Dr. Paul Hagan has over thirty years experience spanning roles in academia and industry – in teaching, research, operations and management roles. In 1998 he was appointed a faculty member in the School of Mining Engineering at UNSW and has been a member of various university, faculty and school committees. In 2001 he was appointed the Director – Undergraduate Studies and since 2003 he has played an important role in developing the new Mining Education Australia (MEA) program being the only remaining founding member on the Program Leaders Committee, the steering committee responsible for academic standards and procedures, curriculum development and, the subsequent implementation and on-going co-ordination of courses in the MEA program. At the course level, he also played a key role in developing the activity-based courses covering mine planning, mine feasibility projects, rock breakage, surface mining and the industry research project/Honours project. He also has a keen interest in developing the report writing abilities of undergraduate engineers with involvement in several projects that eventuated in a citation from the Carrick Institute for outstanding contribution to student academic literacy. Paul is also a co-author of the “Report Writing Guide” which is the standard reference for the MEA program.

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