Unis to share learning hub

Queensland engineering students are set to benefit from a learning center that employs advanced virtual reality technology.
Engineering education in regional Queensland has been given a much needed boost with a partnership between the University of Southern Queensland and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
USQ will assist USC to optimise the use of the new Engineering Learning Hub at the Sunshine Coast’s Sippy Downs region by enhancing pathways to engineering in the area.
The new facility will link to visual facilities at USQ enabling collaboration in producing 3D scenarios in mechanical and civil engineering.
USC’s professor of civil engineering, Mark Porter, said these specialised visualisation theatres for immersive learning at USC and USQ, with support from the University of NSW, would set the facility apart.
“Combining visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual reality technologies will allow students to see and interact with complex data in ways that they understand,” he said.
The hub will also feature cutting-edge learning and teaching spaces, including an interactive lecture theatre for 120 students that can be quickly reconfigured for group work activities or scenario work.
The new hub will also address skills needs in the region as well as at a national level.
Professor Frank Bullen, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Surveying at USQ, was enthusiastic about enhancing the opportunities for students.
“USQ engineering is proud to extend learning pathways in Queensland for future engineers,” Bullen said.
“To be part of this education infrastructure fund bid proves USQ’s leadership position in engineering education and these facilities will also further enhance the education advantages that USQ offers.”
The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, recently visited USC’s Sippy Downs campus to mark their successful bid for $30 million from the government’s Education Investment Fund, which made the project possible.
“I’m thrilled at what this facility will mean for the Sunshine Coast, somewhere with a very special place in my heart,” Swan said.
“By delivering first-class education facilities we will help generate jobs and future prosperity for the Sunshine Coast region, and the country.”
A Labor senator for Queensland, Claire Moore, said the new facility will give Queenslanders access to better quality education and training opportunities and world-class facilities.
“The project will help increase the number of engineering students in the region by working with TAFE and high schools, giving more students access to rewarding engineering jobs in the future,” Moore said.
She said it was not just a great result for the universities, but also for the entire region.

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