International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (11 papers in press)
EMPOWERING PRIMARY GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS IN TELANGANA (INDIA) WITH INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) ENABLED EDUCATION
by Archana Singh, Alka Singh
Abstract: The amalgamation of education with computer and technology is known as information communication technology (ICT), ICT has proven its worth and creditability in business, government, and academia with its innovative propositions. An ICT oriented teaching is not only aimed at creating technocrats for the global economy but would rather harness the potential of the computer-aided technology to provide a knowledge platform for those who need it the most. ICT enabled education is envisaged to hold tremendous significance particularly as an effective tool for imparting education to underprivileged children. Computer-aided education could be utilized to facilitate creative teaching and make the process of learning more informative and interactive. This would enable the development of the marginalized and the deprived sections of the society and the development of the community as a whole. The education system can be drastically improved by the utilizing ICT enabled education in government schools.
The current paper illustrates an action research initiative undertaken by an International Child Rights Organization in collaboration with the government of Telangana and aided and sponsored by an IT firm from Japan with the aim of empowering primary government schools. Introduction of ICT enabled education as part of the pedagogy has the potential to attract the underprivileged children to school, accelerate the rate of enrolment, and retain children in schools. With the incorporation of ICT, instructors will also comprehend their role in making children understand and ensuring an academic inclusion in the classroom.
Keywords: ICT; primary school; government school; digital content; digital hub; effective classroom teaching.
An Innovative Fuzzy based Multicriteria Decision Making Method for Evaluating the Performance of Electronic Exam Systems
by Santoso Wibowo, Srimannarayana Grandhi
Abstract: This paper presents an innovative fuzzy-based multicriteria decision making method for evaluating the performance of appropriate electronic exam systems in the higher education environment. Linguistic terms are used for representing the decision maker's subjective assessments. To ensure the efficiency of the computation process, fuzzy numbers are used to approximate the linguistic terms in evaluating the relative importance of the evaluation criteria and the performance of individual electronic exam systems. To greatly reduce the cognitive demand on the decision maker, the pairwise comparison technique is adopted for evaluating the performance of alternative electronic exam systems and the relative importance of the evaluation criteria. The concept of ideal solutions is introduced for calculating an overall performance index for every electronic exam system alternative across all criteria. An example is presented for demonstrating the applicability of the fuzzy-based multicriteria decision making method.
Keywords: Performance evaluation; Electronic exam systems; Multicriteria decision making; Selection; Higher education.
Synchronous Virtual Tools to Develop and Evaluate Cooperative Learning in an Online Learning Community
by Prudencia Gutiérrez-Esteban, Rocio Yuste-Tosina, Gemma Delicado-Puerto, Juan Arias-Masa, Rafael Martin Espada
Abstract: The study presented in this paper is part of a broader research aimed to analyse possibilities of synchronous tools, such as synchronous virtual classroom, which promote strategic cooperative among students in Higher Education. Therefore, the study searches the utility of this tool, used in e-learning methodology, within a blended learning context. The main objective then is to present a cooperative learning proposal useful to enhance the teaching/learning process, assessment included. Virtual synchronous classrooms are new resources that promote a collaborative learning through videoconference, shared desktop and files, synchronous white board, presentations, etc. which allow a cooperative learning context.
Keywords: Cooperative learning; assessment; learning virtual communities; synchronous virtual classrooms; e-learning.
Research on a new teaching quality evaluation method based on improved fuzzy neural network for college English
by Maohua Sun, Changai Chen, Jiang Yixuan, Zhang Jingjing
Abstract: For the heavy workload and complicated statistics of college English teaching work, the progress and limitations of neural network, and the existed characteristics of fuzzy information, fuzzy logic and RBF neural network are introduced to integrate the advantages of learning, association, identification, adaptation and fuzzy information processing to propose an improved fuzzy RBF neural network model based on back-propagation learning. Then the teaching quality evaluation method of college English based on improved fuzzy neural network is proposed to obtain the more objective and reasonable evaluation result. To testify the effectiveness of the teaching quality evaluation method, the college English teaching in Henan University of Chinese Medicine is selected as study case. The results show that the proposed teaching quality evaluation method can effectively overcome the subjectivity and randomness of the traditional teaching quality evaluation methods, and make the evaluation results more in line with the actual situation.
Keywords: fuzzy logic; neural network; back-propagation learning method; evaluation system; teaching quality.
WEBOMETRICS RANKING: A LESS COMMERCIALIZED (AND MORE OBJECTIVE) MEASURE OF RANKING FOR INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING
by Alexander Ubaka, Kadir Baharudin, Ilham Sentosa
Abstract: Studies have shown that academic website is the most important communication tool for higher education institutions as it helps them create awareness of their presence to the world. More importantly, the multi-dimensionality of higher education institution's activities, including their core academic missions (research, teaching and knowledge transfer), can be captured in their websites and Webometrics tool, used to measure the impact of these activities. This has led to the introduction of the Webometrics ranking, which is independent and has no commercial link. The review carried out in this study identified and described the relevance of Webometrics ranking to higher education institutions. It is therefore recommended that higher education institutions should try as much as possible to look into their web ranking past performances so as to be able to: 1) analyse their impact on the web; 2) understand their academic weaknesses, etc.
Keywords: Webometrics ranking; higher education institution; Universiti Kuala Lumpur; Scholars; Web presence.
An Efficient Constructive e-Alignment for Onsite-Online Learning
by Quoc-Tuan Vien, Purav Shah
Abstract: This paper aims at proposing an efficient constructive electronic-based alignment (CeA) to promote self-learning amongst the students via e-learning environment where e-lectures/e-tutorials are developed followed by e-assessments. The CeA is developed based on behaviourism, cognitivism, humanism and constructivism to ensure the students' learning does take place in the e-learning environment. Considering engineering related courses at higher education, it has been shown that the decline in mathematical background of the students causes difficulties in accomplishing the quantitative curricula. A well-designed constructive alignment is thus necessary to support active learning of the students having different background. Onsite tutorials and seminars may be helpful; however, they may not be very effective, especially in a large-sized and/or high-diversity class. Therefore, in this paper, the proposed CeA not only helps the onsite students strengthen their knowledge but also provides the offsite students with various kinds of learning supplement. Particularly, a case study is presented to show the potential impact of the CeA on both onsite and online learning of mathematics for postgraduate students in both telecommunications engineering and computer networks.
Keywords: Constructive alignment; online learning; onsite learning; engineering subjects.
Analysis of Employability Skills for Future Civil Engineers in Malaysian Construction Industry
by Che Khairil Izam Che Ibrahim, Faten Fadzillah Mohd Zuhairi, Sheila Belayutham
Abstract: Various efforts have been made by governments to strengthen civil engineering graduates' employability skills but the issue of unemployability still prevails. Although research has been undertaken on employability skills for engineers, research that focuses specifically on civil engineering in the local context still remain elusive. This study was carried out to identify the elements of employability skills critical for future civil engineers in Malaysia. A survey questionnaire was administered to civil engineering related organisations in order to capture their perception on the elements of employability skills. Interviews were also conducted to validate the findings. The resulting six elements of employability skills for future civil engineers were; commitment, integrity, analyse root cause in identifying problem, logical thinking, verbal communication and ethical responsibility. The findings demonstrated that both personal qualities and key skills are significant to the civil engineer. A framework for successful future civil engineers in construction organisations is proposed which includes the six elements and the potential outcomes. This study also outlines the recommendations that could be helpful in advocating educational improvements towards enhancing the employability elements for future civil engineers in Malaysia.
Keywords: Civil Engineering; Employability skills; Graduates; Construction Industry; Malaysia.
Stewardship: Engineering students team responsibilities in problem-based projects
by Marietjie Havenga
Abstract: The purpose of the research reported here was to explore how engineering students could develop stewardship in teams when working on problem-based projects. Stewardship relates to a shared sense of ongoing responsibility and taking care of or managing something. Integrated in stewardship is the active participation in decision-making and problem solving, and this may strengthen students' responsibility in teams. Undergraduate engineering students need to work in teams as a reflection of professional development. Accordingly, teaching-learning approaches should mirror skills development for responsible learning, such as the development of joint projects. Developing problem-based projects in teams could be a catalyst for taking up stewardship. A qualitative research method was used in this study. Participants comprised 380 first-year engineering students at a South African university. Data collection involved students' written narratives and project feedback sheets. The data were analysed and coded manually. Thematic ideas were mainly based on the literature to guide the analysis process. Qualitative results showed that the engineering students' development of problem-based projects provided an expanded array of learning experiences, certain responsibilities and skill development involved in stewardship.
Keywords: engineering education; problem-based projects; responsibilities; stewardship; teams.
A Review on Student-Centered Higher Education in Civil Engineering: Evaluation of Student Perceptions
by Irem Sanal
Abstract: Considering the past decade, learning and teaching have been changed in terms of strategies, methods, assessment, communication and designing pro-industry curriculum. To meet this challenge, undergraduate program of training must develop from the traditional limited hold of devising a chosen solution to that of a much broader whole system approach. Our university has engaged in this vision and designed the undergraduate civil engineering program to be centred on a systems-based-integrated course with design-based learning and student-centred education at its core, where it becomes vital to learn the student perception. The purpose of the paper is to evaluate the thought of the student experience on design-based learning (DBL) and assessment. Issues related DBL has been identified based on the student response to a survey conducted. The results highlight the advantages of DBL for civil engineering courses, where team-work, communication, knowledge-sharing and project management are key issues.
Keywords: Civil Engineering Education; Student-Centered Education; Design-Based Learning; Student Assessment.
Research and Development of Website Application of Material Mechanics based on Flipped Course
by Qingxiang Xu, Duanyang Zhao
Abstract: Flipped classroom teaching model comes from the USA, widely popular in recent years and has become one of the world's most popular teaching models. Before class, students learn knowledge by watching multimedia courseware, accessing information and communicating with teachers and classmates online. In the classroom, teachers put the majority of class time for exchanges and discussions with students, interpretation, homework guidance, organisation and participation in group activities and so on. The paper introduces how to use the concept of the flipped classroom teaching in mechanics of materials course, promoting the teaching quality. Course website is full of course information. Through the website, students can study the mechanics of materials course knowledge system. With the website background management, teachers update the website information in a timely manner. Course website is rich in function modules. Each function module includes rich teaching contents, provides a large amount of course information.
Keywords: theoretical mechanics; flipped classroom; website framework; foreground user interface; background management.
Researchers Design Conceptions of e-Learning courses targeting Industry Practitioners Competence needs
by Monika Hattinger
Abstract: This paper addresses two overall challenges that concern university research teachers' professional identities when they make design plans for blended e-learning courses targeting practitioners' competence needs. Research teachers' are challenged by finding applicable learning material that matches practitioners' experiences and workplace knowledge demands. They are also challenged when they need to digitise engineering learning content such as virtual labs, and machine-related cases such as turning and milling aligning to workplace needs. Design plans used for campus education is argued to be insufficient meeting these challenges. Consequently, researchers' professional identities become vulnerable when they cross boundaries between university and industry practices. Results show that even if researchers are not trained for educational e-learning design they identify concepts for digitising cases and labs. By applying a work-integrated learning strategy, the courses integrate practical and theoretical tasks and cases collected from the manufacturing industry workplaces and thereby support competence development.
Keywords: blended e-learning; learning technologies; manufacturing technology; research experts; teacher identity; professional competence; boundary crossing; expansive learning.