This summer, the University of Auckland Department of Civil Engineering has supplied eight student interns to work with Xorro on developing a targeted learning solution. These interns have been working alongside another intern group (numbering seven) from Massey University contributing to product development in Xorro Workboook and Xorro-Q projects.
The Engineering interns had just finished their second year. They were drawn from a large cohort of students who had been using Xorro-Q as a practice based learning tool in introductory structures. The focus of the internship at Xorro has been to improve course content, making use of the students' own experiences and feedback to provide an even better outcome for next year's course.
Lecturer Dr James Lim introduced the use of Xorro-Q to the structures courses because he felt there was a need to evolve a more intuitive understanding of the core concepts. By introducing these concepts individually through working problems, the students can experience their use first hand. Students can safely experiment with the concepts through responses in Xorro-Q and, by repetitive experience, evolve a practice-based understanding of the behaviour of structures.
Interns Awal and Sophie describe their work this summer as follows:
“The questions are now quite diverse so I believe there will be a wider range of understanding. The feedback [has improved with more comprehensive and detailed solutions provided, rather than just saying whether the answer is right or wrong. " (Awal)
Sophie adds: “We have … targeted the questions to explore weaknesses in the understanding of basic material….. and have tried to provide as much detail as necessary for each question to clarify confusions. The detailed feedbacks in the questions should be helpful to students who are struggling to understand ideas..."
Awal sums it up:
“I’ve always thought [Xorro-Q] was a good program to use and working with the team has solidified my views. [Xorro-Q] made me think in a more abstract way rather than just using number crunching methods to solve problems. I believe [this kind of conceptual thinking] is an important attribute to an engineer."
By leveraging the use of Xorro-Q through the interns’ efforts to improve learning content, Dr Lim expects that the 2016 cohort will avoid the conceptual challenges around learning beam theory which were experienced by earlier years.
If you are interested in contributing student interns to work at Xorro-Q developing content for your courses, please contact us.
See the video tour.