School
of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems
The
University of New South Wales
Modern Electronic Versions of Worked Examples in Survey Computations
by Adam Long
Edited by Assoc. Prof. J. M. Rüeger
October 2002
Introduction
My thesis deals with the conversion of standard text- based survey computation worked examples into modern electronic versions. The conversion was to enhance the existing worked examples by adding annotated colour images, such as maps, plans, photos, diagrams and fully developed Excel worksheets.
The main aim of the modern electronic worked examples is to increase the understanding of a number of survey computations by providing both a visualisation and a step-by-step solution to the problem. It was hoped that, once a problem can be visualised and broken down into sub-problems, it will help students overcome the initial confusion experienced when facing a survey computation. The electronic worked examples are based on problems found in first, second and third year surveying subjects and vary in difficulty. The success of the modern electronic worked examples has been evaluated by interviewing first, second and third year students. The interviews asked the students their opinions and preference between the old black and white text-based worked examples and the modern electronic versions.
Characteristics of The Worked Examples
The worked examples had to be easy to read so that students could understand and comprehend the required concepts. This was a major factor in the designing and writing of the examples. The new ‘student friendly’ worked examples were on the following topics:
1. Coordinate Calculations
2. Loop Traverse Adjustments
3. Detail Survey Calculations
4. Deposited Plan Calculations
5. Volume by Least Squares
A smaller version of the Coordinate Calculations example can be downloaded here
The examples are given to the students as PDF files through a web page from where they are downloaded. The Least Squares example is presented as a suite of Excel files as they offer more educational value than just a non-dynamic PDF file. The worked examples follow a standard format with the following steps:
Question
Quick Answer
Visualisation of the Problem
Solving the Problem Using Formulae and Calculators
Solving the Problem Using Excel
Providing Excel Formula Output
How to Check the Answer
Another Question for the Student to Complete and Check Themselves
Use of Graphics
Graphics and images were used frequently in the worked examples. If there was a concept that was hard to grasp, or problem that was hard to describe, an image was used to help students visualise the problem or concept. The graphics were also provided to create motivation for the user. The manner in which the graphics were used was also important. The selected graphics supplemented the text rather than replaced it, and did not interfere with the acquisition of schema. An example below shows how the detail survey problem was visualised, and how the concept of trigonometric heighting was derived.
Figure 1: Image showing how the components used in the formulas are related to the real world.
Evaluation and Conclusion
Overall, the worked examples were received well by the students. They found them to be easy to understand and comprehend and, if given the chance, would use them if they were available. The use of images and diagrams makes the examples more appealing to students and motivates them to complete and learn the topic’s objectives and concepts.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. B. R.
Harvey
Email: B.Harvey@unsw.edu.au
Mail:
School of Surveying and Spatial Information Systems
University of New South Wales
UNSW SYDNEY NSW 2052
Australia