Innovative teaching of the experimental sciences in regional Queensland
AbstractCentral Queensland University offers a range of experimental science courses both by distance education and by 'face to face' teaching. The latter is spread over four regional campuses using various technology. In recent years there has been a blurring of the boundaries between full-time, part-time and distance education. More significantly the increasing use of technology has seen a blending of the styles and modes of delivery so that all the traditional terms are in need of redefinition (or perhaps abandonment). The actual teaching practice behind terms such as 'mixed mode' and 'flexible delivery' is starting to make a real difference for students. Despite the plethora of acronyms, e.g. VAL (Video Assisted Learning), ISL (Integrated System-wide Learning), students now have access to a range of technology based resources and we can cater for a range of learning styles (and lifestyles). This paper outlines briefly the innovative technology being used and its influence on teaching techniques. At CQU courses are not evaluated systematically by the University but individual lecturers are encouraged to survey students in their courses. The results from these surveys are allowing us to optimise the flexible delivery models for teaching science in regional areas. The influence of factors such as class size, communication medium, student age, course level and support mechanisms are now reasonably well documented. The limitations of different models as perceived by staff and students are briefly explored.