Enhanced Student Collaboration in Mining Engineering through Peer Review of Major Projects

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

Published by The Learner Collection

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

Group projects form a major part of the assessments in the 3rd and 4th year course curriculum for the School of Mining Engineering, The University of New South Wales, where collaboration is is considered to be an integral component of this learning environment. The rationale behind the group projects is to encourage students to develop collaboration amongst themselves and also to facilitate peer learning. This is considered one of the most important graduate attributes for the school. Since assessment strongly influences learning, any course objective to improve peer learning and/or collaboration must have assessment that promotes it.
It has been observed that self and peer assessment is a valid solution for promoting these objectives and overcoming potential problems of equal marks for unequal contributions. Group members are responsible for negotiating and managing the balance of contributions and then assessing whether the balance has been achieved. The implementation has not been without difficulties as it a new way of thinking for the students who previously were used to more teacher directed activities.
This paper reviews the various peer review systems that are currently available for assessing group projects and describes the effectiveness of each of these systems.

Keywords: Peer Review, Student Collaboration

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp.501-520. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.092MB).

Dr. Rudrajit Mitra

Lecturer, School of Mining Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, 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.

Assoc Prof Serkan Saydam

Senior Lecturer, School of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, 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. Chris Daly

Senior Lecturer, School of Mining Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, 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, UNSW SYDNEY, New South Wales, 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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