Online Learning

New Engineering MOOC Uses Adaptive Tech to Improve Outcomes

The University of New South Wales Australia is launching an engineering MOOC that will use adaptive learning technology to personalize course materials for students and boost completion rates for those new to the field. The course, Through Engineers' Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design, features adaptive tutorials built on the Smart Sparrow platform.

The university hopes the adaptive technology will help address the low completion rates in massive open online courses as well as high failure rates in introductory engineering, according to a press release. The course will be geared toward "students in introductory engineering programs, working adults looking to make career shifts into engineering, or individuals interested in a real-world understanding of how things work."

"Learning foundational engineering concepts requires one-to-one guidance that can often be difficult in online settings. Adaptive technology makes it possible to design online courses that supports each student throughout their learning journey," said Gangadhara Prusty, a professor in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing at UNSW, who developed the course with retired Associate Professor Robin Ford. "Over the last nine years, I've integrated Smart Sparrow's adaptive tutorials into my teaching, and have seen a significant reduction in failure rates from 31 percent to 7 percent, as well as a two-fold increase in the number of students achieving high marks in foundational mechanics courses in engineering. Now through this MOOC, we're able to help convey our own passion for engineering mechanics to students, and engage them in new and exciting ways."

The course begins April 18 on UK-based MOOC platform FutureLearn.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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