Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
GENC, B and CAWOOD, F. The establishment of a Mine Design Laboratory for improved teaching of and learning by Mining Engineering students: A case study. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.7, pp. 677-682. ISSN 2411-9717.
Improving student success rates without compromising the quality of graduates is one of the biggest challenges expanding university programmes are facing in South Africa. By establishing a new Mine Design Laboratory (MDL) for higher learning in Mining Engineering, the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits Mining) has achieved one of the important goals in its five-year strategic plan, i.e. to improve throughput in all years of study. Although the establishment of the laboratory has been a costly exercise, results so far have shown an improved success rate in most subjects taught in the facility. This paper outlines the design and equipment of the laboratory, the facilities incorporated, a comparison with the old laboratory, and the performance of students-all of which indicate how important it is to have proper facilities to improve the teaching of, and learning by, large classes. Through this initiative, Wits Mining has taken an important step that will contribute to addressing the skills shortages in the mining industry.
Keywords : establishment of a Mine Design Laboratory for Mining Engineering students; Wits mining facilities; improving student success rate; addressing the skills shortages in the mining industy.