Lab demonstrations that give every student a front row seat

Short video series

Clients: The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

Impact: Improving student understanding of the practice behind theory

Captured from four camera angles, the demonstrations used Hollywood stunt technology to offer a multidimensional and up-close perspective to students in ways that would not be achievable in the classroom. By incorporating three-dimensional technical models alongside demonstrations, students appreciate the theoretical implications of these practical experiments in their careers.

Concrete crushing test, with overlaid graphics to emphasise the cracks forming. Film equipment set up for a practical demonstration in the engineering lab.

Process: A new generation of technology for a new generation of students

Dr Ryan Hoult fondly recalls his undergraduate days as a student at the University. However, when he began lecturing many years later, he was quite astounded to find that the practical engineering demonstration videos were the same—afros and all!

Whilst these videos served their purpose well, they did not make use of significant technological advances of recent years, and often failed to capture students’ attention. This left them believing that they did not need a practical understanding to master their largely theoretical degree. Dr Hoult wanted to resolve this problem and offer students a new perspective.

With the lab spaces themselves too small to hold a whole class, it would have been impractical and time consuming to deliver live demonstrations to all students. That’s when the Learning Environments team was approached to reimagine and revitalise these demonstrations in a recorded format.

Engaging two engineering student volunteers to assist with the experiment reinserted the student perspective into the demonstrations and allowed Dr Hoult to engage naturally in the explanation process. In collaboration with academic staff, we then added three-dimensional models and theoretical elements, creating content that captured the academic value of lab demonstrations fully utilising the unique potential of video as a format.

Presenter in a lab coat stands beside machinery, gesturing to an overlaid graphic measurement that hovers above.The film set in the Engineering Lab, with crew setting up.