Debate Activity as an Effective Interactive Learning Approach for Civil Engineering Students

Deakin University Press
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2015), 2015, 1 (1), pp. 980 - 990 (11)
Issue Date:
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The research team has attempted to improve the learning experience of Civil Engineering students by introducing debate activities in engineering subjects. This could encourage the students to be active learners (against passive learner or lecture receivers) and we consider this process as an activity (what students actually do) and not a task (the work prescribed by the teacher). In this project, a main stream civil engineering subject, namely Soil Behaviour has been targeted. Feedback received from the students has indicated that the developed in-class debate activity has been effective in improving communication and critical-thinking skills of students. Availability of new collaborative theatres and collaborative learning spaces could add great advantages to enhancing the efficiency of collaborative group work, in terms of planning and preparation for the debates. In addition, available online discussion boards and online subject website would provide flexibility for students to access digital resources and prepare their arguments. The professional training sessions, on the other hand, could equip participants with important tips to improve the argument presentation skills while were trained to overcome the panic and fear of making mistakes during the speech. International students, whose English is not their first language, were particularly encouraged to attend the training sessions helping them to obtain profound presentation skills not only for Soil Behaviour debate but also for their future career.
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