In engineering universities around the world, there has traditionally been a high student failure rate in foundational courses such as Engineering Mechanics. The academics teaching these courses are eager to develop teaching methods that will address the urgent needs of their current students, digital natives who want to learn fundamental engineering principles in a more flexible manner, using tools that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. The Massive Open Online Course (aka MOOC): Through Engineers’ Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design aims to enable just that.

About the MOOC

One of the major challenges with delivering a MOOC such as this is teaching complex concepts to such a large cohort of students (10K+) from diverse backgrounds (100+ countries). Further, learning foundational Engineering concepts often requires one-on-one guidance, which is difficult to accomplish with a cohort of this size.

Prof. Gangadhara Prusty has nine years of experience with incorporating Adaptive Tutorials, powered by Smart Sparrow, into his teaching, and he found the on-demand style of the Adaptive Tutorials to be a logical fit for a fully online course. The evidence-based approach to engineering concepts has gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, and their engagement is clearly reflected in their improved performance. The adaptive feature of these tutorials plays an important role in meeting the diverse needs of the students who will enroll in the fully online course, allowing Ganga to provide personalized instruction and guidance.

Through Engineers’ Eye is the first MOOC of its kind in that it aims to teach complex Engineering concepts through experiments using everyday household objects, while integrating adaptive tutorials in the conceptual understanding of these experiments. Adaptive tutorials will provide assessment beyond the analysis of experiments.

The course is for:

  • Late-year high school students
  • Early-year students in higher education seeking a fresh approach to traditional Engineering Mechanics
  • Teachers of engineering mechanics or physics seeking new ideas for teaching
  • Anyone interested in a fresh approach to engineering analysis and design
  • People who missed out on studying engineering earlier in life and would like to do it now.

Through Engineers’ Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design

When you design anything, how do you know that the design will work? Learn the techniques of Engineering Mechanics, use them to interpret experiments and apply them to design.

Academic: Course developed by Prof. Gangadhara Prusty and Retd. A/Prof. Robin Ford from UNSW Faculty of Engineering
Delivery: The course is delivered through FutureLearn
Cost: Free
Enrolment: course is now open for registrations here
Launch: 18 April 2016 and has a duration of 7 weeks.

The Learning Design behind an Adaptive MOOC

“I am one of the first academics to adapt Smart Sparrow’s adaptive tutorials in my large class teaching and have personally seen the benefits to student learning.”
—Prof. Gangadhara Prusty

The Adaptive Mechanics MOOC is a perfect illustration of one of the key value propositions of teaching with adaptive tutorials: ease of adapting the learning experience in a continuous cycle of improvement. Prof. Prusty selected 5 Adaptive Lessons, each of which covers a main threshold concept for the course, from the Adaptive Mechanics Network and adapted them to better suit a MOOC delivery. After the MOOC is completed, the elements of the MOOC that worked well will be used to enhance the teaching of face-to-face subjects, also known as MOOC to Mainstream. In other words the continuous cycle of improvement enabled by Smart Sparrow Adaptive Tutorials makes them sustainable in that they can be used over and over again and in a wide range of delivery modes: from fully online to blended delivery at the university.

How were the tutorials MOOC-ified? The language was updated using broader terminology to cater for a global student audience. More specific adaptive feedback was incorporated into the tutorials to ensure students are really getting a personalized learning experience. Finally, lessons were revamped pedagogically, with a better user interface and more game-like visual design to engage learners in deeper learning.

Prof. Ganga Prusty shares a long history with Smart Sparrow, being one of the first academics to use the Adaptive eLearning Platform while our founder Dror Ben-Naim was a PhD student more than seven years ago.