Head of Campus Kevin Tickle (front) and Associate Professor Michael Horsley at CQU.
Head of Campus Kevin Tickle (front) and Associate Professor Michael Horsley at CQU. Geoff Potter

CQU demonstrates new technology

IT WAS all done in the name of science.

Head of Central Queensland University (CQU) campus at Noosaville, Professor Kevin Tickle, showed the workings of new technology as he sat quietly in an office chair with electrode tentacles fitted to his head.

But while Prof Tickle didn’t utter a word, his responses to a variety of films he watched on a computer in front of him, were conveyed loudly and clearly through the university’s new technology.

The technology, a cutting-edge eye-tracking facility used to undertake e-learning research, puts CQU on the international map in this field of study.

According to researchers, the Swedish-designed eye tracker is used largely for commercial market research, but is also valuable for measuring the effectiveness of educational materials.

The professor’s experience demonstrated the use of cutting-edge technologies, the electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures electrical activity in the brain.

Other equipment includes the Affectiva Q-Sensor wristbands that detect temperature and electrodermal changes on the skin.

Learning and Teaching Education Research Centre director Associate Professor Michael Horsley said the equipment’s ability to examine the mind’s responses will help researchers pinpoint what makes people attracted, repelled or indifferent to certain types of learning.

“Emotions are very important in learning because people naturally remember and absorb information better when they connect with it,” Prof Horsley said.

“We’re going to test the effects types of learning media, such as online and interactive media, video and print, have in producing emotions such as anxiety, frustration, arousal and boredom.

“This new equipment measures the physical signs of emotions, like the change in skin conductivity that results from being frustrated, or changes in certain types of brain waves that are produced when someone is excited.”

The addition of the new technologies, together with existing eye-tracking devices which detect, record and analyse how people view information on computer screens, means the LTERC is one of only four centres worldwide to use the combination of these different types of equipment for learning research.

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