In the period 2008 to 2016, average enrolments in courses offered by the UNSW School of Petroleum Engineering have grown from approximately 40 students to more than 100. This has rapid growth has created challenges for the School as the numbers of teaching staff has lagged behind the number of students. In order to ensure our students continue to enjoy a high quality learning experience across the program, we tested innovative teaching techniques in our 3rd year Reservoir Engineering course. In this paper we discuss some reservoir engineering example to explain our improved teaching techniques.

Students in this course are assumed to have a sound grasp of the fundamental concepts of transport in porous media. Therefore, new content was introduced in the tutorials before the lectures. This swapping of the traditional order, requires students to actively apply existing knowledge to new environments and enables students to collaboratively construct knowledge of the course content in a problem-solving context. A key advantage of this approach is that we can ensure that students are able to see the real-world importance of what they are learning as it is being taught. Further, students can identify incorrect approaches to solving the problems at the same time as they are being introduced to new concepts which can be challenging in conventional flipped classroom approaches. We used a number of feedback approaches to measure the success of our techniques.

Feedback from academic colleagues and our students is encouraging. We have found that 85% of students who completed the anonymous surveys are satisfied with tutorial-lecture swapping. The tutorial problems must be designed in a way that the students have prior knowledge to understand the problem statement. Therefore, this approach might only be applied for advanced engineering courses. This technique can be used for other advanced level Petroleum Engineering courses as well.

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