Learning effect of active learning coursework in engineering acoustics course



This paper reports the learning effect achieved by a newly developed coursework for an engineering acoustics course offered to fourth year and postgraduate engineering students at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. The course teaches fundamental knowledge that acoustical engineers need and which underpins a variety of sub-disciplines in acoustics including: fundamental physics of wave propagation, building and room acoustics, electro-acoustics, audio signal processing, and the psychology of hearing. The coursework incorporated practical active learning activities and was developed in order to help students gain understanding of complex concepts related to the room acoustics measurement and analysis. The coursework also has the goal of providing students with an introduction to some of the practical tasks which are typical of a practising acoustical engineering in New Zealand.

The learning effect was measured by comparing students’ performance in a quiz that was run before students commenced working on the coursework and that in the final examination and by investigating common mistakes students made in the report which was the required deliverable of the coursework. Overall, the new coursework successfully improved students’ understanding of the material which it covered.