About Challengineering

What Challengineering is

The core component of Challengineering is a large collection of eLearning resources for studies in Engineering.

The collection of eLearning resources was originally assembled to support the Associate Degree in Engineering taught at Swinburne University. The resources are not limited to the Associate Degree and are available to all staff and students at Swinburne. Anyone studying or teaching various areas of Mathematics, Physics, Management, or Design may find these eLearning resources useful.

This website provides further descriptions of the Challengineering resources including details of how to access them and guidelines for exploiting them.

In addition to the eLearning resources, an online course has been developed specifically to help staff become active participants in the design and implementation of eLearning. The online course (a website) provides practical guidelines for teachers exploring strategies for enhancing teaching with eLearning.

Features of the eLearning Resources Collection - a Summary

  • A large collection of eLearning resources for studies in Engineering.
  • Designed to support educational innovations from staff and students.
  • Focussed coverage in Engineering; shorter time required to find relevant resources.
  • The eLearning resources are easy to access, and easy to exploit - technology has been tamed.
  • The eLearning resources are diverse pedagogically and diverse technologically.

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Features of the eLearning Resources Collection - in Detail

A large collection of eLearning resources for studies in Engineering.

At October 2012 the collection provides more than 1,500 individual web links. Most of these web links are to individual web pages where each web page hosts a specific eLearning resource. Because some of the web pages lead to further smaller collections of resources, there are actually many more resources than suggested by the 1,500 links. It is estimated that the total number of resources available is closer to 2,000.

Designed to support educational innovations from staff and students.

Most Challengineering resources are focussed on specific small topics and are not large courses. They are modular and designed to be re-used in many different contexts, especially within your own educational innovations. Challengineering uses an 'e-warehouse' metaphor where staff and students are invited to raid the warehouse and take whatever they like. Staff and students can easily pick and mix any resources and simply embed them into whatever educational contexts they prefer.

Focussed coverage in Engineering; shorter time required to find relevant resources.

There is a huge difference between searching Google for eLearning resources and searching within Challengineering. Searching in Google for Topic X might produce (for example) 20,000 results, of which 19,950 could be an irrelevant waste of your valuable time. Even if you find something interesting from Google, you still have to contemplate how much time will be wasted managing to figure out how to technically exploit whatever you have found.

Searching in Challengineering for the same topic might only produce 10 results but all 10 will probably be worth reviewing, and every one of them will provide instant one-click access. Every Challengineering resource is included in the Challengineering catalogue specifically because it has been demonstrated to support some previously identified learning outcome. That learning outcome is known to be relevant within current Engineering studies at Swinburne.

The eLearning resources are easy to access, and easy to exploit - technology has been tamed.

A significant feature (described below) is that all Challengineering resources have been wrapped up into simple web links. This eliminates a huge number of technical obstacles and makes it genuinely quick and simple for staff to review resources and equally quick and simple to put those resources into whatever educational context they choose. It is technically simple to click on a web link and immediately review a resource. It is also technically simple to copy and paste that web link into a Blackboard page, or into an email, or into a Word document, or into a PowerPoint slide, or any other context that handles web links. Web links are a simple currency that everyone can easily exploit.

The eLearning resources are diverse pedagogically and diverse technologically.

Diverse pedagogically.

The resources include examples like instructional videos, study-guide pdf files, etc, which can be regarded as 'resources that explain things to students'. These can be pedagogically contrasted with examples like simulations which 'explain nothing' but which provide superb conceptual environments that students can actively explore and then exploit when the students are themselves required to do the explaining. There are also examples like interactive multimedia packages that nicely blur the pedagogic distinction described above.

Diverse technologically.

A key feature is that Challengineering resources have tamed the underlying technology and shielded users from the underlying complexities. All Challengineering resources have been wrapped up into simple web links. The technology underpinning the resources actually includes videos in various formats, applications written in Flash, applications written in Java, and a few other quirky technologies. None of this underlying technology is of any real interest to staff or students who just want to engage with the contents of a resource. Irrespective of how complex the underlying technology is, Challengineering resources are always just 'click-and-use'.

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Who can use Challengineering

Access to Challengineering resources is currently (Oct 2012) restricted to members of Swinburne University. In order to access any of the resources you need to log-in (just once for any session) using your OPAX number.

If you are a student this means logging in with the same log-in details that you use for email.

If you are a member of staff, this means logging in with your OPAX number (not your email name). Your OPAX number is the number on your staff card.

Access is from anywhere. There is no requirement to be on campus when accessing Challengineering resources.

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Who built Challengineering

Challengineering is the result of a project conducted at Swinburne over a three year period from 2009 to 2012. The project was called Engineering eLearning. Details of the project can be found on the project's website at http://swinburne.edu.au/engineering/elearning/ade

Two educational analyst developers were employed on the project. Throughout the three years of the project, a cross-sectoral reference group comprising the two analyst developer members of the project team together with representatives from Swinburne's Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences and the School of Engineering, Technology and Trades met regularly to provide direction, approve strategies and resolve issues, and review deliverables.

The project was designed to deliver resources that specifically enhanced the teaching and learning on the Associate Degree in Engineering, but it also had the aims of using the results to support Engineering Education in a broader sense.

The project reference group members:-

Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences
John WilsonDean of Faculty; Project Sponsor and Chair of the Reference Group
Tom EdwardsEducation Development Coordinator
Alex MazzoliniAssociate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Head of ESER Group
Birgit LochSenior Lecturer - Mathematics Education
School of Engineering, Technology and Trades, TAFE Division
Luke AlaoTeam Leader, Engineering
Ravindra SavangouderCourse Coordinator, Associate Degree in Engineering
Genevieve KellyFormer Director of Learning. Moved to Kangan Institute
Analyst-Developers for the Project
Rosemary BorlandAnalyst - Developer
Douglas SiviterAnalyst - Developer

Both analyst-developers were engaged in requirements analysis and the subsequent pedagogic analysis of the taught units on the Associate Degree in Engineering. Both were involved in liasing with academic staff to enhance the specifications of the units and the teaching and learning strategies adopted within the units. Both were involved in trawling through the growing abundance of open eLearning resources now available on the web, auditioning and reviewing those resources, matching them to identified learning outcomes, selecting the most appropriate examples, taming their underlying technology, wrapping them into suitable pedagogic wrappers, and making them available on Swinburne servers. Both were involved in cataloguing the collection of resources.

Specialised contributions included:-

Rosemary Borland
Developed the online course for Teaching with eLearning.
See http://challengineering.com/teachwel
Developed the Engineering eLearning project website.
See http://swinburne.edu.au/engineering/elearning/ade

Douglas Siviter
Designed and developed the Challengineering eLearning Resource Management System
and implemented the Challengineering Catalogue.
See http://challengineering.com/catalogue
Developed the Challengineering web site.
See http://challengineering.com

and last but definitely not least...

The real credit must go to the growing army of developers all over the world who invest their time and creativity in producing beautiful examples of eLearning widgetry and then generously making them available for the rest of the world to freely use. This project deliberately set out to add value to those wonderful educational products by assembling a focussed subset into a coherent collection for use in Engineering education. Courtesy of all those developers, the Challengineering catalogue is now a treasure trove.

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Information to download

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