IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF VIDEOCONFERENCING IN A MULTI-CAMPUS ENGINEERING FACULTY

J. Van den Bossche1, E. Koppen2, G. Langie1

1KU Leuven, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, LESEC (Leuven Science and Engineering Educational Centre) (BELGIUM)
2KU Leuven, Faculty of Engineering Sciences (BELGIUM)
In Flanders, six institutions joined their forces in order to start, from the first of October 2013, a new faculty of the KU Leuven: the faculty of Engineering Technology. One of the advantages of this multi-campus faculty is that the Master students are offered a more diverse pallet of research-based modules in the Master's programme, which enables a better match of the Master's programme with the student’s interests and future ambitions. In addition, students come into contact with other researchers and gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art research infrastructure that is not available at the home campus. In this way, the proposed multi-campus system is also a way of integrating research into engineering education [1]
However, despite the many advantages of our multi-campus faculty, physical access to the nearest campus can be very time consuming, as well for the students as the lecturers. One solution could be the use of videoconference. While there is some research on the use of videoconferencing for meetings and small group lectures, the papers on the use of videoconferencing for larger groups are rare [2]. Moreover, we get no clear answer from literature if students on the remote campus feel treated unfairly. It’s also not clear if the perceived advantages counterbalance the disadvantages. Much seems to be dependent on the specific local situation on the lecturer.

To answer the questions for the students of our engineering faculty, we started a pilot project in which two courses were teached using videoconferencing.

In the first part of the paper we will explain why we opted for videoconferencing instead of webcolleges (asynchronous videoconferencing), webinars or the travelling of the lecturer. In the second part we will discuss the survey of the pilot project. It is concluded that videoconferencing is an alternative for a limited part of the tradtional lectures if some technical and pedagogical problems are solved.

References:
[1] Rediers, H., Wuyts, N., Meyers, M., De Vos, L., Van Hoof, E., Bruneel, D., Langie, G. (2013). Implementation of Multi-campus engineering education through modules of different research expertises. In Froyen, L. (Ed.), Proceeding of the 40th SEFI annual conference 2013: Engineering Education Fast Forward, Leuven, Belgium, 16-20 September 2013
[2] Freeman, M. , Video conferencing: a solution to the multi-campus large classes problem. 1998, Brit. J. Educational Technol, pp. 29, 197-210.