Abstract: Context: The three core-engineering units of Southern Cross University's (SCU) Masters of Engineering Management (MEM) deal with complex, uncertain and rapidly developing bodies of knowledge, placing a priority on preparing students to make better decisions (manage) in this context. Previous experience (Heldt and Black, 1997) presenting (conventional) courses that require a strong understanding of context, associated uncertainty, synthesis of ideas and non-numeric decision making illustrated the value of:
1. Engagement of students in simulated situations;
2. Framework/reference material describing key concepts;
3. An interactive collegiate learning environment including reflective learning of both individual and class learning outcomes.
Purpose: This paper outlines how the approaches described by Heldt and Black (1997) have been applied to the inaugural MEM units in its first offering in 2016. The paper is aimed at providing insight on how this method of on-line teaching is able to impart knowledge and understanding of these core units to the students, providing them with the skills and confidence to make decisions in practice.
Approach: An approach similar to that used previously was adopted for these units, however the on-line environment provided both challenges and opportunities in presenting the unit. This method of teaching was designed to provide students with a practical understanding of the unit body of knowledge and exposure to decision making tools and processes, such that they are well equipped and confident to engage in decision making in the respective units.
The paper explores how the unit incorporated engagement of students in simulated situations with framework material describing key concepts and an interactive collegiate learning environment including reflective learning and development of supporting online tools and techniques. With more than 50% of the same student cohort being completing the asset management unit following on to take subsequent units, there was an opportunity to examine how students have adapted to this method of learning.
Results: The experience has shown that this mode of delivery has enabled an effective learning experience for the students while enabling greater access for students who have very busy careers. As a result this access for a diversity of students has enabled a richness of peer discussion that would be hard to achieve in a face to face mode.
Conclusions: This mode of delivery effectively engages students in an online environment, enabling students that are very busy and not otherwise able to engage in postgraduate learning to enrich their knowledge in a learning environment that is inclusive of rich peer discussion. This is enabling the student with skills needed to communicate within their professions, apply techniques and make decisions in areas that are at the forefront of engineering management thinking today.
To cite this article: Heldt, Tim; Doust, Ken; Freeman, Rowan and Swan, Andrew. Masters of 'Decision making' - online delivery [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 211-222.
[cited 27 Apr 17].