Using ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ strategy to transform delivery of education at Curtin Sarawak

Miri – 4 March 2015 – In its commitment to ‘Learning for Tomorrow’, Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) is introducing a number of innovative learning technologies and learning spaces throughout 2015.

‘Learning for Tomorrow’ is a Curtin university-wide strategy to transform the design and delivery of education where innovative thinking and the use of transformative technologies enable students to have rich learning experiences, understand real world issues, and help build essential skills that match industry needs.

The introduction of four new learning spaces at Curtin Sarawak in this first semester of the year are aimed at increasing student engagement, fostering collaboration between staff and students, and providing flexible, technology-rich environments which support active student learning.

The four learning spaces in the Prinia 3 and Faculty of Business and Humanities buildings have been retrofitted and refurbished with the latest technological advances in teaching and learning, one of which is being fitted with distributed learning technology.

Distributed learning represents a multi-media method of instructional delivery that includes a mix of web-based instruction, streaming video conferencing, face-to-face classroom time, distance learning through television or video, and other combinations of electronic and traditional educational models.

A distributed learning system allows delivery of teaching by instructors to learners in multiple geographical locations and permits learner-instructor interaction in real-time. With the availability of this technology, students and staff at the Curtin Sarawak campus will be able to engage in discussions and interact with their counterparts at its Australian parent campus in Perth in real time.

Innovating learning for Curtin focuses on building a highly media-rich, interactive and personalised learning experience for learners. The flexible collaborative learning classroom allows for extensive audio-visual presentation where displays are provided in practical directions according to seating layouts.

Meanwhile, three of the new learning spaces have been equipped with collaborative facilitated learning technologies. In these learning spaces, students are able to work in groups, access online resources, and share views and presentations with their peers with each group having access to personalised monitors.

Many course units at Curtin are using a flipped mode of delivery. Therefore, these rooms are ideal for including a combination of face to face and online teaching. In a flipped mode of delivery, instructors engage with students prior to class through learning management systems, and the class time focuses on hands-on learning, collaborating with peers, and evaluating their progress.

According to Curtin Sarawak’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Mienczakowski, these excellent and exciting teaching facilities represent a new set of student learning expectations and are not just the future of university teaching, but also the present.

“As we move forward, we hope to convert all relevant teaching spaces to possess these capacities. Our students expect such developments and indeed it is an industry trend to offer the latest in technologically-based pedagogies,” said Professor Mienczakowski.

He added that technology has transformed the way people access information and communicate as well as changed many aspects of the way in which students learn. These influences are important and therefore, it is essential for the university to understand and utilise these new learning opportunities in order to prepare students for the predicted technologically-rich work environments of the future.

The construction of Curtin Sarawak’s new four-storey Faculty of Engineering and Science building, which is scheduled for completion in March 2016, will see the addition of more innovative lecture halls, classrooms, and discussion rooms.

In 2013, with the completion of the campus’ iconic Library and Auditorium Complex, a number of innovative learning spaces, such as state-of-the-art discussion and audio-visual rooms, reference rooms and study areas, and a 400-seat auditorium with the latest audio-visual technology and acoustics were introduced.

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New Distributed Learning Room at Prinia 3.

One of the new online case study rooms at the Faculty of Business and Humanities building.

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