With support from the Australian mining industry and the Federal Government, three Australian universities are collaboratively developing flexible-format, web-based course content and delivery in rock mechanics for undergraduate mining engineering students. This paper describes the educational philosophy behind the development and summarises other salient features of the Program.

Mit der Unterstuetzung von der austlalischer Bergbauindustrie und der Bundesregierung, drei austlalische Universtaeten in Zusammenarbeit entwickeln flexibel Netzgengruendet auf Lehrganginhalt und Lieferung in Felsgestein fuer Bergbaustudenten. Dieses Schreiben erlautert das Unterrichtsphilosophie hinter der Entwicklung und Zusammenfassung anderer Hauptpunkte von diesem Programm"

Avec l'assistance de l'industrie miniere australienne et du gouvernement federal, 3 universites Australiennes collaborent a la mise en place d'un programme de mecanique des sols pour etudiants- ingenieurs en mines. Ce programme serait a la fois flexible et accessible par Internet.Ce document decrit la philosophie pedagogique de ce projet et en souligne les characteres importants

Background

Growing industry concerns regarding the quality andsustainability of tertiary minerals education in Australia caused the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) to establish a national taskforce in 1998 to review the situation with regard to both the educational sector and the industry needs for tertiary graduates. The taskforce published its findings in a benchmark document entitled Back from the Brink.

As a result of these findings, the MCA, comprising all of the major Australian mining companies, established the Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC), with the primary objectives of achieving the sustainability and enhancement of a quality minerals education system in Australia. A key recommendation of the Back from the Brink document was for the MCA to identify the best centres of minerals tertiary education in Australia in the fields of mining engineering, metallurgy and earth sciences and to work preferentially with these centres. As no one centre was or could be expected to be a centre of excellence in all aspects of their discipline, the concept was for each select centre to continue to produce first class graduates in their own right but to also "export" minerals education to each other and to the wider tertiary undergraduate and postgraduate education system.

Three universities were recognised by the MCA as being leading centres in mining engineering education and research. These were Curtin University of Technology through its Western Australian School of Mines (WASM), The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Queensland (UQ). Within the mining engineering sector, initiatives have been focussed on three core disciplines namely, Rock Mechanics, Mine Planning and Ventilation. This paper identifies the Rock Mechanics education initiatives being funded and coordinated through MTEC, with emphasis on those pertaining to undergraduate education.

MTEC Rock Mechanics Initiatives

The initiatives related to Rock Mechanics include:

  1. The development of a flexible-format, web-based undergraduate program in Rock Mechanics that can be delivered into the three tertiary institutions. WASM is coordinating this initiative and is providing the underpinning hard rock (metalliferous) theory, slope stability and hard rock underground mining components. UNSW is providing the soft rock (coal) theory.

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