Category: Curriculum team-based innovative and practical approach to the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning

Project: Undergraduate Site Learning Program (USLP)

Represented by: Professor David Radcliffe, Director

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The Undergraduate Site Learning Program (USLP) is an innovative work-based learning program that addresses the call from the profession to develop a broader set of attributes in engineering graduates. Through a unique work-task-learning alignment model, the USLP enables final year engineering students simultaneously to consolidate their technical knowledge and to enhance their problem formulation and solving, communication, teamwork and lifelong learning abilities while developing practical appreciation of their professional responsibilities. The USLP gives students full academic credit for their placement without extending the duration of the degree. The USLP is an alternative program available for independent learners.

The program was developed by a multidisciplinary team drawn from the mining industry and university staff from the School of Engineering, Catalyst and the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, the Library, the Teaching and Educational Development Centre, and Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

The program was first offered in 2000 with a small number of students involved in mining and minerals processing in placements in Thiess companies. It has now expanded to include students in a number of engineering disciplines and many more placement organisations. This expansion from a pilot program to an expanded program has brought its challenges. These are fully recognised by the team and are being systematically addressed as it moves towards wider implementation across the programs of study in engineering.

The program has been recognised nationally as part of a Business-Higher Education Round Table Award for Outstanding Achievement in Collaboration in Education and Training in 2001 and was Highly Commended for the Innovation in Engineering Education Award presented by the Australian Association for Engineering Education in 2000.

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