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Topic 28: Your view on iMechanica Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate

Henry Tan's picture


Mark Nicol's picture

I think the debate on iMechanica has been good, as it has encouraged people from different backgrounds, disciplines and cultures to talk about a wide range of subjects.

For example we have young people who are still students, the DL’s like myself who are working and there are students from a range of different countries.
The one thing in common we all have is that we have been discussing lots of different subjects, a lot of which, personally I had no previous knowledge. So I have learned a lot from reading and debating the different perspectives that people have to the different subjects.

The actual iMechanica site got off to a bit of a slow start due to the volume of traffic and the problems with uploading the blogs. However, once these problems were fixed I think it has been a very worth well experience. 

Thomas Ighodalo's picture

"Everything we hear is an opinion not a fact"

the debate has been good because it is tied to assesment and everyone want to attain the full scores, this line of thought has its benefits no doubt i.e coercing student to research before making posts however since interest is only due to the attributed benefits (i wonder what in life isnt attributed to anticipated gains), discussions will not be fully developed since the motive has been reduced to a task i.e a test of this will of course be the longevity of the debate, will a student after achieving the required posts feel obliged to respond to genuine comments or post relevant topics for discussion? i appreciate the seed sown by the concept of this debate, i only pray it can be nurtured by genuine ethusiam to learn and add to the body of knowledge

Henry Tan's picture


Mohamed H. Metwally's picture


I totally agree with you. I, personnally, wish I was more and more active in the discussions but like most of the DLs I am always busy with my job.

I really joined the university not to get a MSC certificate in the first place but to gain information and build my career based on "scientific basis" not on "scientific certificate".

Menelaos Michelakis's picture

(Topic : Personal opinion on Fund. Safety & Risk Manag. dabate)

IMechanica debate is beneficial for all aberdeen students who participate, but also for people outside the university, scientists and/or engineers, visitors or students from other universities who wish to increase knowledge or just have a look.

It is beneficial because when someone makes a post, he must seek for sources, read, comprehend and learn new things that way. Also, when someone reads a post he judges it, by making a comment or silently. He does not only gain knowledge he learns to judge. Sometimes when you make a post you must write in a particular way, to affect others people thought, or to drug their attention. This improves your writting skills.

The 1 mark given, for each successful post is a good motive for students. This way students try to make good posts, something good not only for students but also for the others who read.

So it is very good and beneficial, in my view.

Henry Tan's picture

drag their attention

Abdulazeez Bello's picture

The debate on I-mechanical has being educative so far. It has
helped create an avenue to express diverse thoughts and Opinion on matters
affecting ones immediate environment. A number of people have being able to use
the opportunity to sharpen their critical mind i.e. ability to engage in an
intellectual argument with respect for each other’s opinion. It has also being resourceful,
as it has broadened people’s perspectives on a lot of events that has happened
and how it happened especially when one reads through the existing post before
contributing.  Looking at it from a research
angle, how better way can one explain the voluminous books, Journals and papers
scan to get details of events and methods use in reference them. Above all it
has exposed one to a peer-review situation where colleagues criticises and
judge Ideas and Opinion on objectivity.

Aaron McKenna's picture


I believe that this style of assessment definitely
has its advantages. These have been mentioned by the prior posts. However, I
feel that there has probably not been enough discussion (i.e. back and forth
responses). I feel there has been a lot of generic information, such as backgrounds
to certain technologies or accidents that has reoccurred time and time again in
posts, often in lengthy manners. This makes it difficult for such back and
forth discussion to occur. Discussion I feel is the best way to generate our own
ideas and to develop one’s own critical thinking. For this reason I think
possibly that not just a minimum word count be set but also a maximum to enable
succinct thoughts to be passed on and then debated much more effectively. I know it is extremely hard to keep it at 100 words but I personally feel that the key concept of a post, on this style of blog and debate system, is almost lost if it is drawn out over more than 500 words.

Henry Tan's picture

Good recommendation, a post should contain more than 100 words, and suggested no more than 500 words.

Etienne Gunter's picture

I agree with you Aaron.

I would also like to make another proposal; that the amount of topics be limited or rather managed. It is extremely difficult to take part in a debate with so many topics as well as to keep track of what has been said (e.g. my proposal has probably already been stated somewhere else in the blog).

There is a case to be made that too few topics will quickly be exhausted, but to cater for that, requests or proposals could be made to the administrator who then introduces a new (or a few) topic (s) at the right time.

Controversial topics will also stimulate debate as you can choose your "angle of attack" (for or against) according to your own opinion.

leighmoreton's picture

In my opinion the blog
started out as a very interesting method of people being able to
discuss their opinions of the importance of safety in their
respective sectors. I however feel that as time has passed for this
method of assessment the purpose of the blog has changed from having
a discussion between peers to a view of how many topics can we post
on the site. I feel that some of the created topics overlap with
existing discussions and that are already commencing on this site and
that some people may have been confused by all of the topics so
instead of reading the exiting points made they may have found it
easier just to create a new topic.

Some of the topics are
slightly too specific, for example as a renewables student I would
have liked to have perhaps had a topic about 'Safety of Offshore
Renewables' which would provide a discussion point for not only
varying methods of offshore renewables, including wave, tidal and
wind, but also could have gone off to compare the safely regulations
with that of the existing offshore operations.

Leigh Moreton
MSc Renewable Energy

From my point of view, this way of assessment is innovative and beneficial. I reckon that, this way, students can interchange information and different viewpoints in an exciting way. In order to post a comment, one should search and read through alot of articles as well as other posts which results in a dynamic environment of learning. Although objections against a "new style" is always inevitable,I prefer this style of assessment since:

1. It is more stimulative and encourage students to attend the debate.(The main reson is one mark)

2. Writing 20 comments about 20 different topics lead students to expand their horizens in at least 20 different grounds.

3. It teaches students how to discuss a subject which will be helpfull in the workplace.

4. ...

 I also have some suggestions:

1. I think it would be better if students debate  the topics with each other rather than just post their ideas.

2. I reckon that it would be very good if proffessor Tan correct just one post of each student as a sample for that student to see if it is worthy of one mark or not for his/her other posts.

 All in all, I always appreciate such innovative and different  ways of learning.


Brenda Amanda's picture

I agree with Nina, especially
about each student getting direct feedback at least once during the course of
this assessment method. It would help give confirmation if one is going in the
right direction and guidance and direction otherwise. The feedback would
definitely boost and improve the way in which we express ourselves both on the
blog and simply getting our views across in an everyday discussion.

Henry Tan's picture

By reading this blog actually I am getting a lot of feedbacks from you … Thanks for the posts, they are very valuable for me to improve the teaching. Anyway, this is my first time to teaching "Safety Engineering and Risk Management".

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Ambrose Ssentongo

Hanifah N. Lubega's picture

I might have been among those who thought it was a horrible idea, but after one post and reading through different comments especially where reactions or questions from previous posts are being reacted to or answered, it is quite interesting. 

It has several advantages including among others improving the reasoning capacity and being able to read alot of information and come up with 100words of your opinion and also appreciating the different angles in which particular issues are being handled. I belive the earlier complaints about the debate were not because it was a bad idea, but rather because it is sometimes time consuming since one might have to post something different from the other person.I also agree with Aaron about generic information which at some point may lead to failure to analyse comments and losing the concept of the topic.

Despite the few disadvantages, i think it has personnally improved my reasoning capacity and is yet to diversify my knowledge in various engineering fields as i proceed. 

YAKUBU ABUBAKAR 51126107's picture

Imechanica like many other academic and professional
website provide a good platform for intellectual discussion and knowledge
sharing among large and wider audiences ranging from academia, and
professionals etc.

The website has more than 5000 members and 10,000 page
viewers per day as far back as 2010.With a lot of input from diverse group of
people and discipline which make the know knowledge sharing very valuable and
also professional contribution from experts and academician.

The discussion on safety engineering Risk and management
on this platform is no doubt laudable, because it would raise the awareness and
increase the knowledge of risk analysis, risks effects and also the management
of risk to minimized accidents and disasters to the benefit of societies all
around the world.

The most interesting thing about the debate is the
diversity of the topics that is being discussed at the forum which touched virtually
wider areas from past experiences on hazards and disasters to the lessons learn
going forward on safety and other related issues.

Yakubu Abubakar 51126107


Kobina Gyan Budu's picture

The process “iMechanica debate” is an interesting one. It is a learning platform where at a glance
one is able to acquire knowledge which hitherto would have been hard to get. By reading
people’s posts on a topic, you already have an idea going into your own research, and that is
really helpful in your understanding of the topic as you go researching. There are some
facts/ideas that might come purely from people’s experience, and those might not be found in
textbooks (free consultancy).

However, just like any new system, there was the need to set clear rules and controls from the
start, and this appeared to have had a hitch initially. Another hitch was the frequent downtimes
the system experienced initially. Once sorted, the process has only been getting better day by day.

I share the observations of those who are talking about generic idea, but it is in other. Why?
Because you have a reason to challenge that idea or post and once you start, others may follow
and so the debate will carry on. A debate will certainly involve some body’s idea, be it specific
or generic and so iMechanica gives the opportunity to challenge such posts. Let’s keep rolling.

Henry Tan's picture

Let’s keep rolling!

Mykola Mamykin's picture

Just like with some people above, my initial response to this idea of continuous assessment was negative.


In fact I was going to post negative post just an hour ago. But then I thought back and recalled that in order to prepare several posts, I read majority, if not all of the BOEMRE report on Deep Water Horizon accident. Previously I just scan read it diagonally like probably did most of us.


I guess the real value of this approach is that it makes us hunting for the information no-one found yet. It’s competitive and challenging and makes students think.

Deinyefa S. Ebikeme's picture

Humans will always react to changes of any kind whether it is positive or negative as states by Newton 1st & 3rd law of motion.

At first we all criticized the assessment process but so far we have come to accepting it due to the favourable clauses attached to the assessment system which makes it a “1 free mark obtainment system for your contributions have some level of uniqueness and ingenuity”.

Despite it has broaden our thinking, writing skills and reasoning horizon, it still has some limitations due to the limit of human intellectual (Knowledge in the head) which in-turn becomes knowledge in the world (known) about any discussed topic which is not infinite.

This was also addressed and minimized by the clauses where more topics could be included and discussed by us all before any particular topic becomes a generic information input as pointed out by my other colleagues which is punishable under the clauses (Plagiarism).

So far as good it has being a nice welcome exercise and a mind developer.

Deinyefa Stephen Ebikeme IBIYF

Soseleye F. Ideriah's picture

The Safety Engineering and Risk Management debate is an innovative idea that enables students learn from each other by having intelligent discussions in a comfortable environment. Indeed, this blog takes advantage of the fact that today’s generation of young adults prefer to express themselves in short written messages. It provides a platform to share intelligent ideas especially from more reserved students who might not contribute in a regular classroom. The blog also helps stimulate students’ line of thinking, thus, creating an avenue to build on ideas previously expressed by other bloggers. This method of idea generation and sharing should be encouraged in universities all over the world.

The blog has developed through different stages of the learning curve. Many students opposed the idea initially, but with the abundance of technical, historical and statistical information being shared on the blog, more and more students are showing increased interest and support. The idea of creating threads for each topic went a long way in improving the arrangement of information on the blog, making it much easier on the eye. Bloggers should however take more care to follow the line of discussion for each topic, as this creates much better reading material.   

Uchenna Onyia's picture

 I have to admit the imechanica concept for continuous
assessment has been a partial success and I comment Dr Tan innovation at such a
novel idea.  Being one of it earlier sceptics about the mode of assessment, I am glad I had opportunity
to be a part of this concept and I believe it has provided me with the right
environment to learn and develop myself in the area of Health and Safety.  My only reservation  towards the concept and my reason for tagging
it a ‘partial success’ is the fact that I believe it would be a difficult
endeavour for Dr Tan to be able to go through every single comment and there is
room for omissions or marks.  Also the
inability of students to be able to monitor our progress and be definite about
our marks is also an issue for me.  But
on the overall, I would say the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and as Dr
Tan mentioned, we should all be able to count and have a fair idea of our marks
(even if not absolute)



uchenna onyia 51232632

MSC Subsea Engineering 


The Safety and Risk management Debate 2012, offers a very competitve atmosphere for learning beyond the four walls of designed classrooms (physical or virtual). Added to numerous advantages, the debate ensures an environment where every individual participation is mandatory, for wholesome participation not the least the grades attached where reasonable and related ideas are brought o bear on different topics.

At the regular class environment, it would not be impossible that some participants (Students) may spend the entire lecture time year round without making the slightest comment, addition or question. Contrary wise, on thorough reflection, the probability of finding any participant in this environment who would not make any contribution would be almost zero. These strenghtens most of the foregoing contributions on the effectiveness of this method as very valid.

These method when carefully looked at offers an opportunity at self development with the possibility of review by peers (participating students and researchers) and moderators (Lecturers).

Babawale Onagbola's picture

I would like to openly commend Dr Tan for this contribution to the Fundamental SafetyEngineering and risk management concepts course this year. For me, this blog has been helpful. Its amazing just how much you can learn from classmates. It creates a learning environment. Like a colleague said, some characters are not as vocal as others during lectures, but with a forum like this, everyone in the class can take advantage of their wealth of knowledge in certain areas. I would totally encourage this method of assessment as it helps everyone see all different sides to a die (topic) and that way we are all more informed. However Dr Tan, against next session, I would advise that you streamline the number of topics or sub-blogs created by students as I believe this begins to create a distraction as time goes on. When every student creates a sub blog of topics that interest them, it reduces the potency in deliberations on already existing topics. All the available facts about certain topics are not uncovered before people move on to others. I was skeptical about the idea when it was first introduced, but today, im a proponent.


Rough statistics as at 16:02 (20th October 2012) show the following:

 The Debate was opened for comments: 20:58 (27/09/12)Total posts as at Analysis = 886 postsCumulative Lecture hours since debate opening = 10hrsApproximate Number of participants = 150 participants Total hours since date of post to analysis = 547 hrs (till 16:02 on 20/10/12)


  • Average number of posts per participants = 886/150 = 5.9 posts/participant

          Assuming a max of 20 comments per hour in class,          Implies total comments since post = 20*10 = 200 comments         Therefore, average comments per participant = 200/150= 1.3 comments/participant. The above analysis shows a greater participation at the debate than rigid class.

  • Average comments per hour =886/547 =1.62 posts/hour

This demonstrates the frequency at which comments are made and by extension the rate of active research and writing done by participants. The above analysis further establishes the effectiveness and advantages of the idea. 

NOTE: all figures are derived from the imechanica "Safety and Reliability Management Debate 2012" blog.


Henry Tan's picture

This post is replaced by the next one? So, 1 mark is given to the next post; but 0 for this post.


You are absolutely correct Dr. Tan! The next post is a replacement for this one.


Rough statistics as a 16:02 (20/10/12) show the following:

The debate was opened for comments: 20:58 (27/09/12)

Total posts as a analysis = 886 posts

Cummulative lecture hours since debate opening = 10hrs

Approximate number of participants = 150

Total hours since dae of post to analysis = 547 hours (till 16:02 20/10/12)


  • Average number of posts per participants = 886/150 = 5.9 posts/participants

         Assuming a total of 20 comments per hour in class,

         Total comments since debate = 20*10 = 200 comments

         Therefore average comments per participant = 200/150 = 1.3 comm/participant

The above analysis shows a greater participation at he debate than rigid class.

  • Average post per hour = 886/547 = 1.62 posts/hour

This demonstrates the frequency at which comments are made and by extension the rate of active research and writing done by participants.

The above analysis further establishes the effectiveness and advantages of the idea.

NOTE: All figures are derived from the imechanica "Safety and Reliability Management Debate 2012" blog.





Henry Tan's picture

Thank you Asokhia,
It is encouraging! Does the total number (886 posts) contain all those in the main + sub-blogs?


Yes Dr. Tan

The 886 posts contains the main and sub blogs as at time of review (16:02 20/10/12.

Henry Tan's picture

Some posts are mine, and they should not be counted in your statistics.


Yes some posts are yours Dr. Tan, but I did not hesitate to take them into count as I believe they contribute to the validation and review process which I described earlier. Your posts and presence on the blog goes beyond validating and querying opinions expressed, they help to give sense of direction and keep the discussions going in the right direction.
Added to the moderating essence and stimulus of your posts, the imechanica blog as an academic environment encourages the opportunity for effective cross pollination of ideas with members made up from prior divers industries and training. This creates an opportunity for the moderator to also get useful incites and appreciation of transferred knowledge from the student’s previous experience as learning can only be continual. As evidenced in some of your responses, the feedbacks from the imechanica blog would help an improvement in the delivery of the Safety and reliability course.



Further analysis using the above parameters (Looking at figures edited Post) shows:

Number of reads as at analysis = 30,391

Total hours since date of post opening till analysis = 547hours (20:58 on 27/09/12 - 16:02 on 20/10/12)

Approximate number of participants = 150 participants


  • Average reads per participant = 30,391/150 = 202.6 reads/participants

Though some of the reads may be mere glances and a few of the read posts not relevant or are plagiarized, there is still a show of the reading and review of write up by peers which is good academic culture!

  • Reads per hour = 30,391/547 = 55.6 reads/hour

The above shows the possibility of knowledge transfer per hour spent as a factor of 55.6. Establishing a huge luck of chance of learning from research and articles done by peers.

In conclusion, though cumbersome in outlook, the advantages of such intellectual debate and discuss is a positive way to go in developing learning methods.

This makes the assessment method arguably efficient.

 NOTE: The figureS used are as derived from imechanica "Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate 2012" blog.





Henry Tan's picture

Very useful statistics!
How did you count the number of reads (30,391)? Does that consist of reads in all sub-blogs?


I took total count of reads of all the sub blogs and the main blog, the figures are as provided by iMechanica pages for each of the blogs.


Laudable as the assessment strategy is, it is not totally devoid of challenges. These challenges range in different perspectives including the following:1.    Current statistics show over 850 technical posts with an average of 100 words have being made so far, implying a total of about 85,000 words over! This leaves the moderator and assessor a very huge heap of write ups to read, verify ingenuity of thoughts expressed and assess relevance to topic on discuss.2.    Compilation of individual marks gotten from views expressed in over 25 topics under discuss may prove a huge challenge; especially with a lone moderator left with the entire job to do.3.    The assessment so gotten does not have the student in the loop as there may be little or no feedback on the quality of work done (even where a mark is given), areas to be corrected or developed, acceptability of write up, guarantee of no mix up in assessment and scores gotten.4.    It could be a cumbersome process as there rarely is a debate to facts of engineering reports and technical papers.The above notwithstanding, the debate has being helpful in engendering research and wide reading by participants and increasing knowledge base of participants significantly on important and topical Safety and Risk management issues. ASOKHIA BENJAMIN M.51228516SUBSEA ENGINEERING

my simple view on imechanica debate so far relates to personal development in extensive way of sourcing for information and improved ability in writing skills. Also, it gives avenue to understand the judgement of fellow scholars and understand how they feel about the world around us. It is also an easy way to get facts and understand better and faster the highlighted topics at a glance.

I will like to say thank you for the oppurtunity, although,the process still has its own itches and headache that still needs to be improved on,most especially the downtime of imechanica website which is an uncontrollable event, but it has been encouraging and amazing how the power of number can improve the world.


Henry Tan's picture

Thanks. You may also like to upload the photo image?

Elle Allswell David's picture


The iMechanical Debate has been a source of
encouragement to all who are interested in research work. For me it has made me carry out a lot of research about Wind, and Wave energy. Before now my view about Nuclear energy is that it is the worst source of energy but this research has also made
me to know that it is not all that bad but that proper care should be taken in terms of its safety.

This assignment has actually made me to know what safety
is all about. I think this kind of assignment should be encouraged as it will
help to broaden students interest in research work and also independent
thinking. I believe 80-90% of the students actually appreciated this method
after the initial disagreement. It is really innovative, Dr. Henry Tan can only be described as a great Teacher.


Maria Christou's picture

Dear Mr. Tan,

 I have to admit that I
was a little chary at first concerning the imechanica debate. The whole idea of
posting comments on a blog seemed prochiral. However, during my first attempt
to write a post, I released that I was completely wrong. Obviously, I don’t have
to highlight the merits of the debate since my classmates above have already done
it extremely well.

Nevertheless, I would like to suggest some changes in order
to be easier for you and the students to actually read all the comments in the
future.  Maybe it would be better if you
divide the students into groups of ten – fifteen people, give a topic for each
group to start with and discuss the topic within the group.  Subsequently, each student can post a blog
within the group which can be further discussed.  Students will only have to read theirs group
blogs and they will be easier for them to comment. Thereby, you will be able to
read all the comments of each group more effectively.


Henry Tan's picture

Thank you Maria for the nice suggestions,

I prefer to let the students have free choices in taking different learning styles rather than assign them a specific topic. Students can either focus on 1 or 2 topics with in-depth researches, or comment here and there to broaden their horizon.

We may have a loosened group structure, so a student can either join this group or that, or many? The discussion topics seem already suggested such kind of structure?


Harrison Oluwaseyi's picture

I would say this system of discussion of different topics through the use of a blog is new to me and very interesting. Initially when Dr Tan brought up this idea in class I was probably one of the first set of people to go against it, but after a few weeks of active participation through posting comments and ideas about the different topics, it has changed my point of view.

Just like any new system or technology, the imechanica has its pros and cons. The pros which include a source of information for researchers who intend carrying out a quick study on any of the topics on the blog, participating students whether shy or outgoing have an opinion instead of the normal class procedure of asking questions or chasing after the lecturer, personally i can say imechanica has improved my writing and research skills etc. A few obstacles have been encountered using this system like several times the imechanical system has failed not allowing access for interaction, too many topics which has affected the commenting aspect of this system, are participant’s really learning or just posting comments for their continuous assessment etc.

For me I would say the use of imechanica has been helpful and I would advise this system should be encouraged in different courses and programs but the few cons in the system should be eliminated. Thank you.

Osazee J. Igbineweka's picture

I commend Dr Tan for using this form of communication to exchange ideas and as a form of continuous assessment. It is very innovative and encourages research about the different topics being posted. It broadens ones horizon about the different topics and leads to an in depth knowledge of each topic.I have just started participating in the use of this blog, due to the fact that I work offshore and I just commenced my studies just a couple of days ago. It has being quite a daunting task to go through all the posts and read all of them and I have more or  less given up to read them. This blog I believe is to generate useful ideas that contribute to each topic being raised; this then leads me to make this request from Dr Tang, which may not be implemented this year but maybe next year. The sheer number of posts, that is required to get a total of 20 marks generally leads to repetition and lack of time to make very good responses, hence I suggest that the following:

  • The number of posts that one should be answer for continuous assessment should be reduced to from 20 to 5 with a maximum of 300-400 words
  • The post should be a predefined number e.g. 20 and should not change.
  • Students can only post once.

The result of this would be a well streamlined blog which will be very efficient and productive.

Henry Tan's picture

Interesting suggestions, but why "Students can only post once"?

Osazee J. Igbineweka's picture

The reason I said students can only post once is fundamentally to try and streamline the content of the blog in order to enhance the user experience. Below are the two basic reasons I proposed that limit.

  • If one is aware that he/she has one oppurtunity to comment it ensures well thought out posts that are well constructed  before being submitted
  • The above minimizes the content of each topic so that the user can easily glean through them and extract information without having the feeling of looking for a needle in a haystack.

However on more reflection since it is a blog and a forum to exchange ideas, i guess there should be more flexibilty and maybe you can have a limit on the number of posts you have(e.g. between 3 to 5) or in the spirit of  ensuring knowledge transfer is not hampered no limits on the number of posts possible.

Osazee J. Igbineweka's picture

PS:I just realised that  I didn't differentiate between posts and topics in my original posts.

I meant that we should limit the number of posts under each topic.

michael saiki's picture

i am personally excited about debates and platforms where issues are analyzed and perspectives mirrored. When I first heard of it, it sounded quite interesting an offered an opportunity to just share some puzzles in my mind, but i have since being blown away by the depth and perspectives my colleagues have brought into the the debate. The diverse issues and perspectives and the non rigid sidelines that the dicussions have taken. You see people take a stand on an issue and in the next instance they shift their stance, due to superior argument or a different perspective brought into it, Which is great because that is the catalyst for learning.

I think we should allow all the diverse topics and allow one topic per blog. If we say we should focus on one blog per time like some people are saying the excitement of personal creativity would be lost because sometimes ideas and perspectives come like an inspiration and if we dont allow free flow we would be all rushing to seek for info to post rather than the critical thinking.Also only the topics you feel excited to comment on you should.

However, Imechanica how not been reliable at all as sometimes you would take loads of time trying to log in and to make a post

Toby Stephen's picture

The concept is a great idea but one that can be frustrating at times when you see a well constructed, thought out post which responds to and incorporates elements of previous discussions, which is then overrun by a generic, ambiguous post. This completely interrupts the flow of conversation and can be detrimental to the topic. As noted by Kobina it's important that topics 'keep rolling' and flowing as any normal conversation would, without the need to re-introduce the initial topic 10 or 20 posts down the line.

I'm also in agreement with the concept of introducing new topics to avoid the older ones becoming stagnant, but these should be regulated somehow (ie the person who introduces the topic is only allowed 3 posts within that topic, for example) to prevent people from focussing too heavily on one area. At the end of the day this enourages research, learning and discussion of other topics outside of our comfort/knowledge zone which can only be beneficial.

Barring this, however, I think that it's a solid concept which just needs a few minor creases ironed out. 


Toby Stephen
MSc Oil & Gas Engineering

Giorgos Hadjieleftheriou's picture



Posting in imechanica and having the specific debate, in
my opinion is time consuming both for the students and the lecturer. Another annoying
issue is that there are a lot of comments which aren’t essentially and I have
stop reading what my colleagues are posting.

The good news is that we can enrich our knowledge for
some specific topics regarding safety, which we might do not know before. By making
some research about the specific topics, we are collecting important
information and they are going to be useful for the future.

For any other usage of imechanica I guess it is very
useful regarding teaching but I can’t express my opinion because I am only
using it for posting in our debate.  

Henry Tan's picture

Well, I enjoyed reading the posts, and therefore the debate is not time consuming for the lecturer.

Craig Donaldson's picture

Well actually at first I thought this was quite a good idea which would incite interesting discussion and a freedom to learn more about topics and discuss those of your choice. However, when the logistics of this dawned on me my initial positive outlook became a bit jaded. In my opinion this would work better with a smaller group of people say around 20 - 30 so it would be easier to follow what other people are saying. Right now there can be large amounts of information posted in a short space making it hard to keep up. To facilitate the large numbers I have a few suggestions.

My first suggestion would be to use an actual forum rather than a blog. A blog is good for people who are posting discrete entries. A forum on the other hand allows for a much more structured flow for the discussion especially with the ability to quote parts of what other people have said. Each topic could have its own thread where the first post introduces the topic and the rest can follow on as a discussion rather than every so often someone posts a regurgitation of another post which just describes the topic again.

I also think that having a word limit would be beneficial because it's counterproductive to have a discussion with massive blocks of text in the middle. This, however does not mean people should be allowed to reply to themselves over and over again in the same topic as that is not a discussion, merely the person taking advantage of the situation and splitting an essay they have written into five or more pieces for more marks. No one should be able to reply more than once to a post they have made unless replying to someone else discussing their material.

Otherwise, I commend you on the inventive idea and with some posting rules as well as the clarification for what is worthy of a mark it could be deemed a success.

Fungisai N Nota's picture

 I personally believe that as site is up or set up in
this way it does not benefit anyone that is the students and the public at
large. When one joins a discussion or a blog they have an interest in the topic
that they follow it defend their view or opinion on the subject matter at hand.
As it stands at the moment everyone just posts a comment for the sack of marks
and there is no continuity where people are actually following the discussion
and they defend their view 
as this promotes learning and as a
student I get the benefit out of this. I have had to do a discussion blog
before and I felt I got much out of that than this.

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

Fungisai N Nota's picture

 To start off with each
individual was only allowed to enter one discussion topic until that topic is
said to be exhausted then they would be opened up to one more topic. In doing
this one was forced to follow the topic actually get to read and gain something
from the topic rather than just marks. This also helped with a lot of the congestion
that a lot of people are getting at the end of the day the thing is no one is
following anything and half have even read what has been said all they do is
write about each topic and just post in hopes to get a mark.

Fungisai Nota BEng(Hons) MIET

oseghale lucas okohue's picture

Am loving it. Imechanica blogging has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Its so cool because you get to share your view or opinion about a particular
topic as the course progresses. It also give one an opportunity to research,
develop technical skills, and develope a broad knowledge on safety, failure and

The only problem so far is that the database has not been stable. Its always
up and down and so i will suggest that the technical IT team should provide
a permanent solution as the blog keep increasing in size.

Also I will also suggests that imechanica blog should not be viewed as a means
of scoring a mark on each post but as a learning tool, this is the only way
to enjoy the maximum benefit derived from it.

Finally, i will also suggest that discussion should be contineous on a given post and not posted randomly
so that the discussion will be more meaning full. If anyone is to continue posting on other post...he or she
should continue on the post.

faizakhatri's picture



Debate on Imechanica organized by Dr Tan reflect  innovative methods of teaching  because of its inherently interactive idea and has the great advantage for assessment for all of the classmates besides studying course books, it encourages students to share their knowledge and ideas on particular topics which also help full for  improving writing skills. I would recommend if Dr tan also develops some topic related to (Hazard identification methods and communication ,Handling with chemicals ,Hazardous waste disposal methods)

Faiza khatri

 M.Sc oil and gas engineering


In my view,i think the  iMechanica Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate is a very good and interesting learning tool in two ways;first of all,the fact that we all come from different academic backgrounds and environments,we are able to share information/views from different scholars and in this way i learn some thing new by reading posts from my fellow colleagues.Different people approach different topics in different ways,atleast there is always something unique that i get to appreciate that i did not personally know.

Secondly,Imechanica debate has forced me to go an extra mile because before posting a comment on a given topic,i have to first do some research even on topics i had never dreamt of becuase  i thought may be they would never benefit me in future because my focus was on oil and gas  related stuff  but i have realised that i have been able to widen my knowledge in various areas through research as a result of imechanica debate and this is very very good.There are some energy technologies that i thought were 100% clean without any safety and environmental concerns forexample solar energy,hydropower,biofuels,wave energy  and wind energy but to my surprise after carrying out research on them,i realised that there is no  energy technology that can guarantee 100% safety.How would i have known that detail without the imechanica debate the fact that am not doing an Msc.In Renewable Energy Systems?????  That is what i think about the debate,what do others think???


John Bosco Aliganyira

Msc.Oil and Gas Engineering.

Richard Sedafor's picture


Throughout the ages education has taken various forms and great teachers like Aristotle, Socretes etc used varying methods to impact knowledge to their students. I think this debate on imechanica on various discussion points is an innovation fit for the 21st Century.

A story is told of one of Aristotle's students who was brought to Aristole by His parents to be taught. Now the problem with this student was that he thought he knew everything and wanted to impress Aristotle with what he had learnt. The parents stood in admiration whilst the new student demonstrated his primitive knowledge to Aristotle. The parents thought, "wow, what a bright son we have, it would be alot easier to train this child to be the best" Surprisingly, the response Aristotle gave was quite shocking. He told the parents of that boy that they had to pay three times the cost of tution. Alarmed the parents asked "why?" Aristotle simply said "its for three reasons 1. because it would take me a long time to remove all the rubbish and foolishness in the head of this child, 2. it is hard to teach a child who thinks he already knows all, 3.I have to take extra pains to keep him quiet and less arrogant" Well, the parents paid three times the cost of tution

We all come to the point in our lives when we have to subject ourselves to knew things and new ways of doing things. I believe the debate on imechanica helps us as students to explore and learn more. Again, it allows you to bring accross your ideas in a more open atmosphere where the academics aspects would not be that strict. I think its good and must be encouraged.

Andrew Allan's picture

The use of blogging as an element of the overall assessment for the module is good.  It encourages people to actively investigate new topics, to challenge others opinions and to practise the art of debating, a skill which is useful in the engineering world as an engineers role is to challenge and improve design by reducing risk.

 However, I have a few comments on the imechanica blog as feedback for future classes:

- As has been widely discussed, the reliability of the Imechanica site is frustrating, a more reliable website able to handle the traffic would improve the experience for users.

- The number of topics are far too great and of too diverse a subject topic, such that people can essentially discuss anything.  Future blogs should be restricted to a smaller number of topics to allow focus on specific items related to the Safety and Risk concepts module.

- The goalposts have been moved throughout the assessment, in particular with respect to successive blog posts by the same user.  Whilst I can see where people have listed upwards of 10 posts consecutively with little regard for the nature of a blogging "debate" there are circumstances where it is useful to split a response into separate posts (such as an item where I have provided an overview of the SIL process then followed with 2 further posts describing different techniques which can be adopted for SIL assessment).  To wrap this up in one post would have been close to 1000 words, meaning the overall effort required by a student could be up to 15000 - 20000 words which I feel is excessive for the assignment.

In short, the concept of blogging as a coursework assignment is good, however the blog should be focussed on topics related to the university module.

I have enjoyed the experience of this assignment.



Elvis.E.Osung's picture

The safety and risk management debate 2012 has been so far exciting and i hope it becomes rewarding by the time we get to see our assessment scores.

Reading through the blog provides a lot of useful information which would have taken several hours of research to arrive at (In this debate we have access to the intellectual effort of atleast 150 MSC students). Responding to any topic requires some form of research, this reasearch has increased my panorama on a whole range of issues.

Though quite time consuming, i feel it is worth the effort. Dr Tan should be commended for this novel approach of assessment.

my only concern lies in the appraisal method. It will be nice to have access to acccumulated points on demand before the deadline, as this gives everyone a fair chance at achieving the goal of improving our research skill, enriching our knowledge base, contributing to the world body of knowledge and scoring high grades.

xenios.ze's picture

For a person that needs to be sure
that the topic that he is posting in the imechanica is good and worth the 1
mark must spend too much time. The mark is not announced immediately and probably
there are people that haven’t even asked about their grade on this assessment,
so if someone wants to reply to a post, with a simple – 100 words – comment, without
doing much research  will not be sure if
he got the 1 mark. For this, the most people do not usually reply to comments
and they are just starting a new research in order to be sure that they will
get the 1 mark. But this research is time consuming if you want your post to be
really valuable. Also 20 posts are too much. We could reduce the amount to 10
post and 5 reply comments.


The good thing is that we have learn
the definition ‘’safety’’ throughout this procedure. All this disasters that
happen from human mistakes or by human naivety, helped us to understand
why the term ‘safety’ is so important and why we have to be aware when we get
into the energy industry.


Xenios Zenieris

MSc Oil and Gas Engineering

Igwe Veronica Ifenyinwa's picture

Time and space will not allow me to state
the various benefits and advantages of an information based, knowledge-factory
and in-depth analytical dissection of the basics of safety engineering and risk
management in Energy, security and Engineering platforms. It is indeed a very
formidable tool for the cross- fertilization of ideas, making a critical
analysis of contemporary topics of interest in Nuclear Energy, occupational
hazards, safety in subsea integrity and reliability, carbon emission trading,
safety in hydropower, implication of the offshore industry towards ‘‘zero
harmful discharge’’ and thus forming a workable blueprint for the stakeholders
to derive a strategic work plan. Kudos to all the participants in general and
Dr. H Tan, the initiator of this laudable scheme in particular.

Olamide s Ajala's picture

I partly agree with my colleagues that imechanica is a good platform for peoples  view to be heard on sensitive  issues relating to integrity managemenk , risk asssesement and safety issues  just to mention a few but the motive behind imechanica is what i do not  i agree with..
Attaching/ awarding marks to this blog,kills or prevent initiative and critical reasoning,because naturally  this purpose will drive people just to want to do something without critical reasoning in other to earn the “1 mark” which makes the blog tiring,frustrating,time consuming and addictive.
From my vantage point,Imechina will be able to maximize or explore the vast knowledge of Msc student in physical Science if it wasn’t marks driven.

Alabi Ochu Abdulraheem's picture

I would want to start by commending all my colleagues for the wonderful contributions made so far with regards to the pros and cons of the debate.
I would want to recommend that the coordinator discus the introduction of this mode of assessment, probably during staff meetings, with most of his colleagues so that it would be introduced by his colleagues in subsequent academic years as it helps to broaden the scope of the course and also breach the gap between ‘on campus’ students and ‘distance learning’ students.
Words can’t really express my delight over its success reflecting back at the criticism of the whole idea by most of my colleagues from inception. I believe over 90 per cent of students who were against its introduction at inception are now testifying its relevance.
Reg no: 51231595

Alabi Ochu Abdulraheem's picture

It has been a nice thought so far on the issue regarding the mode of assessment by most of my colleagues and would want to say congratulations on success achieved so far.

I would want to suggest that the coordinator look at the possibilities of having some oral discussion topics together with the comment post topics already introduced. These distinctive topics, meant for oral debate, would be posted on the main blog and interest from the students would be by highlighting some of the issues he/she wants to discuss on the topic, which is subject to approval by the coordinator. These oral discussions would take some percentage of the total assessment, say 40 per cent, to ensures everyone participates.

This might look challenging but if posting comment on the blog, which seems not feasible by majority at the beginning, has achieved success to a great magnitude, then the roadblock accompanying this can be overcome.

Reg no: 51231595

FELIXMAIYO's picture

The safety and risk management debate 2012 has been so educative and also it has provided a platform for many people when it comes to safety in the industries. Beside that it has enabled many people to look at other areas outside their main course i.e. students doing oil and gas has been able to do some research on renewable sources of energy and vice versa. This would not have been the case had it not been for this debate.
The challenge this debate has faced is in terms of the website hiccups, these didn’t dampens the class motivation to go on with the debate. This issue should be sorted out to ensure that the debate runs well.
This is a commendable work Dr.Tan.


Andreas Kokkinos's picture

In my opinion, iMechanica blog encouraged many of the
students involved to study individually about various subjects that may not be
aware of or familiar with. In this way students have the opportunity to study
for something relatively unknown and receive comments and recommendations from
others familiar to the subject. This interaction among students is very helpful
especially from student who have some experience in this field.

About the limit of 100 words it is very feasible in my
view and I thing that many students support this. We can easily surpass 100 or
200 words without even noticing about it due to the vast range of information
we find and use. There is an issue regarding how much marks we have earned
until now. It would be easier for a student to know exactly how much he/she
earned in order to continue posting to the iMechanica or to stop.


Andreas Kokkinos

MSc Oil and Gas

Trevor Strawbridge's picture

Hello Dr Tan

The forum for me is unique method and an effective tool for encouraging students to participate in valid topics. I certainly have not come accross this method of producing coursework in my learning years (although thats not to say it doesnt exist elsewhere). I for one would encourage this concept to be continued and developed further. Whilst, I do enjoy the participation and reading some of the other students views, I do have a couple of  critisisms. Some of the blogs or rather streams can be lengthy. I'm not sure how this can be controlled other than limiting to a number, but that would disallow other students the right to participate, and I am guitly as the next student for joining in long streams. The only other "moan" I have is the site itself and lack of access especially at weekends. Perhaps that could be me and my hardware? However,  once I am able to log in then Contentness returns





c.ejimuda's picture

Dr Tan,

In my opnion, I have found this debate forum interactive, educative and innovative. I will encourage this method of assessment to continue because it has given me an indepth knowledge/understand of different crucial topics.

I will recommend this over and over because I have been encouraged and  motivated to share my views and see others view. Also, the means of assessment has cut across full time, part time and distance learning students. Nobody is left out. 

Thank you Dr tan for this great idea. Keep it up.


Chukwumaijem M Ejimuda

MSC Safety and Reliability Engineering.


Dear Dr. Tan,

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to have a discussion
through this blog. I was really surprised at diverse topic related with safety
and valuable opinion from class mate again. I really enjoyed online debate in
here and information from other users.

On the other hands, I concerned about mark because nobody know how
many marks are earned from comment. I understand difficulty in marking for
whole comments and your previous announcement regards with scoring. But It would
be great if we have a chance to see the score before due date.

Anyhow, reason for posting is I found my comment is posted several
times continuously. I don't want to give any inconvenience to readers, so I
would like to ask for you to delete identical comment. The title is
'decommissioning subsea facilities'.





Dear Dr. Tan,

Like prevous comment, one comment had been posted several times. I don't know why it's happend but should ask you to delete repeted comment. The post is at Topic 7 and title is 'Hazards in Tidal Energy'. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Kind Regards,


Siwei Kang's picture

Hi, Dr. Tan

To be frank, I do love this kind of platform where we can post our opinions about some topics of Safety Engineering and Risk Management. It not only encourages everyone do some research, but also is a good way to let us learn from others. I don't have to spend too much time on searching and reading, but getting as much as possible useful information from others. It's innovative and efficient. 

On the other hand, it could have negative effects if we can not use it appropriately. Fortunately, some of them have already been realized and prohibited, like plagiarism. But what I really worried is that sometimes we can not ensure every information posted on it is correct, especially the numbers or data. This could give some misunderstanding for readers. So the only way to avoid it is that make sure every information we post can be easy understanded and traced. 

Anyway, I believe this platform can make me learn more and more. I also would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr. Tan.


Yours Faithfully



Foivos Theofilopoulos's picture

Having both a sceptical approach to this blog and a lot of
things “on my plate”, I find myself in a position from where I can judge the
whole approach as an outside observer, since I have not been part of the debate
so far. I have spent the better part of the last week trying to read through
everything that has been posted. I found it quite difficult, I must admit, just
from the sheer amount of information in it. But, the amount and quality of
information inside seems to be well above average, and reading the other
participants’ comments finds me agreeing more and more that my initial reaction
was mistaken and unjustified.

As an idea, or better yet, as an experiment, this blog seems
to be a good platform, but still lacks some fine tuning that, as with every
experiment, can come through trial and error. I will try my best to contribute
both to the debates involved and also with some possible ideas about future use
of it.

Foivos Theofilopoulos

Etienne Gunter's picture

Dr Tan,

I would like to make a proposal in order to encourage debate. Currently there are quite a few topics with many posts and it is extremely difficult to follow the “conversation” of an individual and engage in a debate with that person, given a specific topic (sub-blog). What I am getting at is that it is difficult to maintain a thread of conversation if you want to react on a specific post, or view what a person has already stated throughout the blog. All posts are listed chronologically (which is fine) but some people post quite a lot of comments on the same topic, with a number of other posts in between.

My proposal/request is therefore that in future debates, if possible, to allow participants to filter a specific blog topic for “date” and/or “person”. I think this will force participants to build a “case” when they start to comment on a topic, and also allow other participants to follow what an individual has stated throughout the blog, regarding that topic.

Further more, if blog posts are numbered, you can easily refer to other posts when making a comment, and hopefully involve more people in a debate.

Ber_Mar's picture

Ok so finally it is working, Safari doenst seem to work... lots of posts lost!

 Dr. Henry Tan, i must say that i believed in the first that it would be a very ideia to evaluate students like this, because it enables students to work in hours where they dont feel like it, and the work goes much fluently and better learning. By searching into the real world and problems outcoming from various industries one undergoes the real process of learning without understanding most of the times the value underneath the simple and harmless research.

 I am just worried in some cases that the need for quantity might undermine the necessity for quality, nevertheless if i would rate i would give 20 marks for this genious ideia.

 Thank you

Bernardo Martins 

 seing the ammount of work done, i think i will have a though job 

Kyeyune Joseph's picture

To some of us, this was a new form of assessment and to be sincere it proved to be a challenge at start. Substantial contribution to any debate requires one to have read some good facts. This requires some good research especially in areas where one is not conversant with. Nevertheless, the debate has so far proved to be useful since it gives one an opportunity to debate a number of issues. The research being done on numerous topics has so far widened my scope of knowledge in areas I have so far contributed to.

However, I believe that awarding just a single mark for a substantive post is quite dismal. It means that one is required to make twenty good posts so as to claim full marks. I believe that awarding two marks for a good post will make this form assessment quite popular to the students especially those that put in good effort in their posts. This would mean that one only requires ten good posts to claim full marks in assessment. Additionally, this would give time to those that may find it necessary to debate other issues without necessarily working for marks. In this current format, this form of assessment leaves little chance for students to contribute more than a single post on an issue as they are already constrained with other posts so as to claim full marks. Hopefully, a few changes will see this form of assessment embraced with little resistance next time. Nevertheless, thank you for the innovation. 

Adekola Obayomi's picture

I have to commend Prof. Henry Tan for this brilliant idea!

When I first saw the continuous assessment and the rules attached to it, I was initially overwhelmed, especially from a working distance learner’s point of view. However as time went by, I was able to adapt and learn new skills on researching and discussing my views on a topic of interest. Looking back, I have now discovered the amount of knowledge I have gathered within a short period of time.

Sometimes, the blog site was down during the weekends when working distance learners actually have time to do most of their research and submit their posts.  This made it quite difficult to follow up on some of the discussions that have been raised because one will discover that by the time the blog is back up, some of the comments one intends to post has already been discussed and one either have to edit the post or end up writing a new one.

In conclusion, the blog has not only improved my awareness in safety engineering and risk management, it has also broadened my knowledge in the field of oil & gas engineering as a whole and helped in my official work. I will recommend that this idea of continuous assessment be introduced to your colleagues.

AndrewRCarss's picture

First of all I would like to echo the general consensus, of the students on this blog, that the discussion forum has been an interesting, novel way of learning. However, I agree with Foivos above that it needs some fine tuning.

I have found in reading the posts, that it has been difficult to draw fellow students into a discussion. Instead many of the posts have been simply a regurgitation of freely available information. In some instances, this has lead to a disjointed flow of generic information, with many of the bloggers repeating each other, rather than a engaging in a real discussion.

Regular reiteration of the ground rules that were clearly set out at the start of the assignment may help to rectify this. I also agree with Nina Yari above that perhaps some individual feedback halfway through the term may help to guide us in the right direction.

This is not to say that there haven’t been good, exciting discussions happening in some of the discussion forums. On the whole I would like to see some more in the way of real opinions on the issues being discussed, rather than simply stating facts; this will ultimately lead to more interesting discussions.

We have a great opportunity here, as pioneers, to show our academic colleagues in other disciplines how successful this system of learning can be.


Andrew Carss - MSc Subsea Engineering (DL)

YAKUBU ABUBAKAR 51126107's picture

First and fore most i like to congratulate Dr Tan for this new innovative way of teaching, it was difficult to sell the idea to most people especially like me from the begining i must be honest with you.But like any other new invention in science and life generally adjustment and compromised to suit the preveling enviroment and situation has to be made to make perpect.But i would have love the debate should be front and backward, i mean student should engage on a topics and and analyses with diffrent opinion like (DO YOU THINK HSE HAVE DONE ENOUGH TO REDUCE THE RATE OF ACCIDENT IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRIES ?). You know debatable topics like that to eneble students to engage in to extensive and meaningful educational discussion.But, all the same i would like to say to you well done, and we are proud to say that we are pioneers of this innovative teaching method in University of Aberdeen.


Andrew Strachan's picture

As I opened the imechanica site for the first time, not too long into the start of the course, with a delayed start getting logged on to MyAberdeen and finding that I was already behind on lectures, my heart sank to see that the first blog topic already had what seemed to be an unlimited number of entries. I felt ill equipped at this point to enter into the discussion and my honest feedback at that time would have been that the idea for this continual assessment was misguided.

Now we are several weeks into the term and the ground rules, course topics and general ethos of the blog are better understood, I am more comfortable with the idea and am finding many of the posts from my fellow students thought provoking and interesting.

So my recommendation for future years would be to introduce the continual assessment a little further into the term to give students time to get used to MyAberdeen and familiarised with the courses they are studying.

Contrary to at least one post on this topic which expressed the opinion that there were too many topics and these somehow needed to be managed, I would agree yes they do need to be managed to ensure that they are relevant to Safety and Reliability, but I would argue that the more topics the better as this will decrease the number of people responding to any one discussion topic, allowing for a healthier less competitive style of debate (less unwieldy).

adavis's picture

This is actually one of the more interesting threads because the participants are stating their views rather than trying to educate an arbitrary audience.  Personally, I'd like to see more questions being asked and personal experiences being shared.  I’d much rather hear about someone’s real life experiences and mistakes.  It's much more interesting than seeing a regurgitation of textbook information.  Perhaps, as part of the guidelines, you could suggest that the writer assume the audience is already knowledgeable about the given topic and ask the writer to post opinions and/or real life experiences related to the topic.  Also, I’m not sure if it’s possible but surveys on a particular topic may also be interesting.  I’m curious how my peers feel about certain topics.  Perhaps, credit could be given for setting up surveys especially ones that draw in outside participation.

Tony Morgan's picture

Uh-oh lost on submit .............will need to revisit  this one tomorrow

nite nite 

tony morgan

Monday Michael's picture

I think this is a novel and laudable idea and Dr Tan deserves commendation. At first, I was not sure of the format of the debate and what/what not to post but with each passing day and reading comments by others, the idea became much clearer.

One point we all have agreed on is that in the oil and gas industry and indeed most science and engineering professions, health and safety legislations have been driven by the occurrence of accidents i.e. legislations have only come about after there has been an accident with minor and major injuries to people, degradation of the environment or even the loss of lives (the reactive approach); akin to the cart leading the horse. This is quite an unfortunate trend in this accident-prone industry. I honestly believe that with this debate, we all can learn from one another's experiences and hence apply such lessons to our own workplace, thereby reducing the chances of such undesirable events occurring at our workplaces. Experience, they say, is the best teacher and I dare add that that experience doesn't necessarily have to be ours; we can get it from the healthy debates on iMechanica, else it would be double jeopardy for the industry.

Ike Precious C.'s picture

Wow! I must confess, the iMechanica blog has exposed me so much beyond my imagination. Everyday I look at the comments made by students (especially, the full time students), I wonder how such thoughts come up in their minds.

It has indeed challenged my thought process. 

But like Andrew Strachan said, I think the continuous assessment with the blog should kick off 2-3weeks into the semester/term. This will give the students who resumed late time to be able to get into the course/subject. 

I speak out of experience as one who resumed late, and believe me, it is not the best position to be in. My first log-in gave me headaches and a near heart-attack that I had missed a lot which in turn made me crumble under self-pressure. 

The idea of making it interactive is indeed a plus. This will create an atmosphere for one to challenge a comment/post which in turn will expand our learning horizon and teach us how to handle situations when our findings are questioned. This also helps us to dig deep and get our facts right. 

On the other hand I think the topics should be as many as possible and all chosen before the start of the Continous Assessment or blog. I believe this will give a sort of control over what is being posted. This will give students varieties so as to avoid allegations of copied comments/posts

Dr. Tan, this is indeed a good idea. 

Keep it up.

Thank you.

Oluwasegun Onasanya's picture

Personally,on a neutral ground i would not have ventured into researching into topics like Nuclear safety, as i beleive they are
not for me, but the imechanica has made me sit and research, read the post of others and learn from their comments.

It has also made me developed a broad mind to issues that revolve around safety management. Though i am not contibuting to all the
topics, but i do take time out to go through the comments of others, thereby picking one or two things from that topic.

As no mman is an island of knowledge, the debate has really helped me to have a foundational insight into some of the topics, especially
the ones that do not have their application in my country.

It also shows that there is no limit to which students can be assessed especially when regulations are well spelt out, as the debate has given
so much varieties to be choosen from and commented on, with good flexibility.

I strongly commend the brain behind the idea.


Keqin Chen's picture

Dear Dr. Tan,

When I first found there will be an innovation debate in your teaching as a way to assess the effect of continuous study at the beginning of this term, I was interested in the debate. After all, it is the first try to us which are from  MSC of Oil and Gas Engineering started this Jan. 

Owing to some obvious reasons like huge amount of students, we don't have enough chances  to talk and discuss the stuff we learned both in the class or after. In some way, we think the taught program of our MSC is passively, e.g. just for finish leaning the contents which the lecture told us and passing the exams. But that is not enough for getting a decent job in the real competitive market and it is my personal idea from my ten years working experience.

Fortunately, we have the novel platform to develop our horizons about the safety issues of the oil and gas industry. And in our spare time, we have to sit in front of our computers to gather, digest and output our understanding to each specific technology and safety issues to get enough Marks. And after this progress, I believe everyone will improve himself/herself somewhat.

So, thanks you and hope other lectures can learn something from you.

Keqin Chen

Msc of Oil and Gas Engineering 


Mark Haley's picture

Dr Tan,


I think you have hit the proverbial nail on the head with your idea to run this blog.  As many have already mentioned it encourages students to read into a number of different topics to further their knowledge and advances ideas.

Additionally, in search engine terms the links provided by students in these blogs will help others when researching this information as the forwarding URLs should all be within one blog, and this will have the added bonus of making you very popular with the Google Bot!


However, I would like to suggest a few things for improvement if I may be so bold.  The imechanica interface is fairly limited and it struggles with paragraph and html table formatting.  I know that I have found it very difficult to get the site to present my posts (and I am very literate in html) in the format required and that looking at other posts, many other students have had the same issues.  If you have any contacts with the imechanica web masters, would it be possible to discuss possible upgrade options with them to improve these issues?


My other suggestion has already been muted by others, in that there are a lot of posts that are just statements rather than debate.  I love nothing more than a good argument as it encourages independent thought and/or collaboration and I would want to see far more of it. 

My suggestion to encourage this would be to assign a maximum of 10 students to a specific sub-blog/topic. Once assigned, they would have to argue/debate a point put forward by yourself for a set period of time, say a 5 days or a week. With only 10 students and one argument we could get quite a good debate going!  Then after that set period the students could then join another group and do another topic?

The current system, whilst still very good, can make it very hard to follow a debate as so many people are commenting on the same subject, and therefore a certain amount of repetition occurs. 

By making smaller groups, or something similar, the argument could flow and some real debate could take place.


Just a thought!



Kelvin Osaro's picture

The debate on iMechanica has been so educative in that, there were certain things I had no idea about but having a look at different discussion topics and doing further research, I realise that having a discussion forum like this is more innovative and encouraging for students to do more research on different topics than having only one piece of course work to do. However, it can be time consuming sometimes in that, we have other modules and course works to do as well. I feel this would encourage students to study at all time due to the fact that, they have to post a comment that contains valuable thinking in the safety and risk management prospective and contains more than 100 words to thereby acquire a mark each for 20 posts made.

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Ambrose Ssentongo

Neil Fraser James Carr's picture

to everyone in the debate, I apologise I haven’t read all the comments so if I revisit
anything it is unintentional.


Imechanica Blog system is great, I am not convinced how good it is for a
continuous assessment as it seems like there is an awful lot of contradictory
comments and the discussions that don’t always seem to flow as well as possible
as we all have opinions and are sensitive to challenge others on their own.
Also I don’t envy you for the marking and plagiarism monitoring that you will
have to do but I am really glad that you have offered this experiment to my
peers and I.


through what we have done so far I have found it excellent for gaining
knowledge and experiences from others in fields that are not related to my own and
also being able to interact on our topics definitely helps to instigate
critical thought on topics and to seal some of it in for exam time.


feel that you have uncovered an absolute gem for tutorial work here whether it
is for assessment or not I believe that allocating a blog to a tutorial and
then asking students to discuss and solve problems utilising this tool would be
highly effective in helping students absorb difficult topics or problems in the
run up to a tutorial and then the answers could be revealed and analysed in

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

The blog is immeasurable in how informative it can get! We’re from different backgrounds and therefore stand to benefit a lot from what we share here. It is therefore imperative indeed as some people suggest that we have a bit more interaction with one another than indeed just post isolatedly! We could gain from this more if 90% of the posts were actually responses to another, asking questions, debating ideas rather than unmatched posts from one another.

Also may be Dr Tan should have invited more lecturers to interact with us so we evaluate quality of our posts from just interacting with them and gauging relevance, and most importantly credibility of what we’re posting. We might tend to go astray sometimes or read outdated or obsolete information without knowing it!!

In my lecturing time in future I’ll introduce this if I don’t find it existing at the university and use the positives and negatives raised here to make it even a better medium of exchange for information.

Ambrose Ssentongo

Ambrose Ssentongo's picture

Neil mentions something about plagiarism, I don't find that it is possible to curb plagiarism to a good level on this blog. The comments are too many for a single moderator to look through and in addition, the scope of research and sources of information involved are immensely vast that the moderator would not easily if able at all to track any form of plagiarism except for the obvious cases where someone posts something they’ve simply copied and pasted here (even leaving some font unchanged to clearly indicate the several pages they copied from). The readers of other peoples’ posts are therefore put at a risk of reading un moderated posts whose sources sometimes are not indicated here and if so, not being able to easily establish which part of someone’s writing is his own opinion and which is a citation from a certain other writer. I wonder what others think.

Ambrose Ssentongo

Angelos Hadjiantoni's picture


Regarding the evaluation of each one of us I have something to mention.
Since there are so many posts in so many topics I guess that you might use the Track option in each ones' profiles to see the ammount of posts that each one made and then evaluate them.

I noticed that the "Track" option just shows the  topics that a user posted comments and not the ammount of posts in each Blog Entry. If someone made more than one posts in one Blog entry (Topics) it will only show the Blog Entry that the posts are made.

This is a notice to have in mind while evaluating each one of us.

Best Regards,

Angelos Hadjiantonis
MSc Renewable Energy


Dear Dr. Tan,

When you first mentioned this idea of debate on imechanica, I simply dismissed it as "unworkable". How wrong was I? Very! Presently, I look beyond the 20marks, 1 for each of my submitted post. I have not submitted much as at today but I visit regularly, read peoples posts and learn a great deal from them. When I choose a topic to write on, I spend more time trying to understand it rather than being eager to make a post.

This blog is so useful and commendable. I read posts and can meet the author for questions if any because their pictures are available even if I can not recognise them by their names.

Kudos! Dr Tan 




Uko Bassey's picture


safety and reliability debate 2012 has really broaden my knowledge and I consider the folowing advantages are direct benefits from this:


1. Resourceful and informative: Although some of the topics in this debate are not new but I could not say it authoritatively because I have never taken time to read or follow the events. Today I can sustain an intelligent discussion on some disasters because I have taken time to read from the direct source and follow the trail here.

2. Research Strategy: I can imagine the number of pages and sites we all visit and read in order to post a comment and get one mark in each topic. It is interesting and a great tool for great and active brains like ours. will be used as another research site soon. Most interesting accidents/incidents, however disastrous would have still remain strange without this debate.

3. Through this debate we have been able to know some of my colleagues by names and department, so it also serve as social interaction.

4. Above all, it is beneficial and very much applicable to the course of study in terms of safety and reliabilty, accident assesment and useful suggestions.


Kyle McFarlane's picture

I think the idea of posting on Imechanica was brilliant. It has spurred all of us on to further investigate and research interesting subjects. It has also been benifical in the blogs were there are disagreements because the debate element makes for even more interesting reading. As a whole at first I was skeptical as I wasnt sure how well the posts would take off, however the enthusiasm everyone has shown in making well founded and researched posts with sources included has been really impressive.

 I have found it rewarding to post about my own experiences in Industy and see how my views are also held by a number of my fellow students. I am glad this was the continuous assessment for the module and would urge Dr Tan to make it so again.

 Another useful part of this coursework was it allowed many of us to interact with those out with our own Mscs, as one of the few Safety and Reliabilty post grads it has been interesting to discuss topics with those from other Msc courses and then recognise them in the class.

 I realise my picture is not attached, I will rectify this tonight


Thank you Dr Tan

Ryan Grekowicz's picture

Overall I enjoyed reading other student's opinions, I especially enjoyed when people drew on personal experience from Industry.  I did feel that for each topic, people for some reason felt obligated to highlight the negative aspects of the topic, as opposed to focusing on both the negative and the positive aspects.  I feel the Energy industry is an absolute necessity in our world today, and obviously it's not perfect, and there are always improvements that need to be made, but constant criticism doesn't benefit anybody.  

I also felt like the same thought or idea was repeated in several postings, it was as if people did not read what was previously posted.  I was impressed at the professionalism of everybody in the class.  Sometime online debates can degrade to arguments and personal insults, but everybody was very polite and professinal, which was much appreciated.

I only had one technical issue with the site; if I was using "Google Chrome", I wasn't able to reply to responses, I could only post new comments.



RossWinter's picture

The use of a discussion blog in topics like this can be very useful for developing of knowledge between us. If done correctly it can be very benefical for all involved. However I feel the execution of this for the discussion blog has failed, to the extent that some people are refusing to post at all!

It is meant to be a platform for discussion on topics in safety but I have founds very few discussions actually on-going with this process. Furthermore, people seem more interested in getting their required number of posts than actually contributing to a discussion. This has led to people coming into a topic writing there piece on the topic and then leaving again without looking through what people have said before. Also a lot of the posts with topics have a very weak relationship with safety and risk, which isn't helping with the learning experience. Finally the reliability of the host page is very disapointing, because on many occasions when I have tried to log-on and contribute I have failed to do so due to the servers having crashed.

Ross Winter Msc Renewable Energy

Dike Nwabueze Chinedu.'s picture

Dear Dr. Tan,

Before commencement of my MSc programm at the university of Aberdeen, I used to blog, blogging for fun, entertainment, news and other issues, never thought I will be blogging for academic purposes and widening my horizon in intellectual capacity. When the issue of Imechanica came up in class, I was not happy about it becuase i felt it might put me in a different mode while blogging because am always relaxed and took my time to blog on other internet sites. But now i realise that blogging for academic purpose is the best blogging I have ever done, it gives me focus, educates me and makes me reason into what other people have to say. Imechanica has equiped me with knowledge of some academic issues i didnt know before now.

The following are my views on the advantages of the forum:

1. it is educative, informative, inspiring and even entertaining.

2. It does not require high computer skills

3. you can have feedback on your comments and you can interact (agree or disagree) with fellow scholars.

4. It is open to other people for contribution and viewing.

5. No one is left out in terms of the wide range of topics. 

6. It has a clear and well defined assessment criteria as to what kind of posts attracts 1 mark

7. It gives time (1 full semester) for you to comment and have your marks.

And alot of other advantages. However, there are some disadvantages associated with it which I know will be improved upon in the next episode of Imechanica

1. The reliability that when you hit the 'post comment' button, your post will be up in the blog as supposed.

2. It has some issues with internet explorer 9.

3. The inability of being able to delete your own post if you want to.

In general I am happy about Imechanica as a method of assessement and thank you Dr. Tan for this innovative idea on teaching safety and risk management. It is highly welcomed and should continue.

Dike Nwabeze Chinedu.

farman oladi's picture

I have never had an assignment like this, free discussion about variety of energy topics. It seems hard at first but when you get involved in it, you find it very useful. But I believe that the idea could be better with some changes.

In my opinion, we should set the maximum worlds for each post like the minimum worlds and just let them to write one post for each topic (it means that everyone can write one post but can attend in the debate and reply to other people). This way students will be forced to write briefer posts which have more valuable information after a complete research.

Dr. Henry can ask some experts in this filed to join in to this debate and increase our level of knowledge with their points of view. In addition, experts joining will encourage other people outside the university to attend in this debate as well.

I think we can share this web site with other universities that have the same course and expand the debate with them.

Tianchi You's picture

Dear Dr.Tan:

To be honest, I love this discussion room. It offers us a place to share different people's opinion on study and life. As I come from China I never had this opportunity before, we normally use other kinds of software to communicate but it is lack of discipline so that students do not focus on it .

Actually I have some my personal opinions about this website:

  • Invite more people to join us like other engineering subjects students
  • Encourage some other professors to use this kind of discussion way to get feedback
  • Try to improve the quality of this website,sometimes it is crashed because of too many people
  • Provide some articles about the safety and risk management, actually some students met this subject first time and need to read more stuff. I think the teaching material is excellent, but it may not be enough for us .
  • Actually Dr.Tan you have already improved the website and gave students feedback
  • Create some topics for students to introduce different countries use what kind of way to implement the safety and risk management on the onshore or offshore industries.
  • Encourage those students who have experience to share their experience with us freshers ,if it is possible.


Tianchi You


Oil&Gas engineering

Frankly, this is a very effective means of assessment. it ensures broad learning of various subject matters which are interesting and also sparks up debates on various topics ensuring that a lot of people are involved and interact. Its not just a boring coursework focused on one subject matter. Also, the fact that there are a lot of topics gives us the opportunity to be more informed. I can see a lot of people have made mention of these points so I'll move on to the few issues I feel imechanica has.

- The fact that it gets really crowded sometimes making it difficult to add comments

- as there is a minimum word count, it would be better if there was a maximum limit as well. this way, bloggers or debaters would filter out data more effectively and present us with information about the topics. Reading through some posts could be tedious at times because the blogger has just gotten data from various sources without filtering it out properly.

- I could imagine that producing a good comment is time consuming considering you first have to be aware of prior posts. doing this for each topic is difficult considering the tedious nature of the course.

On a more positive note, I would like to recommend that a maximum limt be enforced making blogs easier to get through. Overall, This has been a succes and its a forum I would like to be involved in even after i graduate.


Kuma Mede


Ikechukwu Onyegiri's picture

I've got to say thumbs up to Henry for this incentive, the patronage has been great though I guess its because of the assessment clause it attracts with it. iMechanica is a good platform but I've got to say my apart from the 'grinch' effect that comes from posts just put out because of assessment purposes so as to get a good grade my biggest issue with the blog so far is the content. I started posting kind of late and what I noticed was that most people don't post to air their views but just post to state the facts. Thanks to the new set of guidelines to posting which I think should have been implemented from the start,, I would love to see people comment on topics with a little bit of biasity so that discussions can erupt because we all can't share the same ideas. Also if our comments can envelope current affairs on whatever topic we are posting on it will go a long way to further educate and keep up-to-date.

Ikechukwu Onyegiri

Msc Oil and Gas Engineering

Frankly, this is a very effective means of assessment. it ensures broad learning of various subject matters which are interesting and also sparks up debates on various topics ensuring that a lot of people are involved and interact. Its not just a boring coursework focused on one subject matter. Also, the fact that there are a lot of topics gives us the opportunity to be more informed. I can see a lot of people have made mention of these points so I'll move on to the few issues I feel imechanica has.

- The fact that it gets really crowded sometimes making it difficult to add comments

- as there is a minimum word count, it would be better if there was a maximum limit as well. this way, bloggers or debaters would filter out data more effectively and present us with information about the topics. Reading through some posts could be tedious at times because the blogger has just gotten data from various sources without filtering it out properly.

- I could imagine that producing a good comment is time consuming considering you first have to be aware of prior posts. doing this for each topic is difficult considering the tedious nature of the course.

On a more positive note, I would like to recommend that a maximum limt be enforced making blogs easier to get through. Overall, This has been a succes and its a forum I would like to be involved in even after i graduate.


Kuma Mede


Derek Porter.'s picture

I agree that imechanica debate is a great way to assess the continuous assessment of the class although I now have several issues that needs to be cleared up.The introduction of a maximum word limit of 100 gives me several questions I am struggling to answer.    ·         Will my post (under 100 words) look far inferior to similar posts that exceed 400 for example causing reduction in marks?   ·         If I post over 100 words maximum (that some people have already exceeded this by a large amount), what is the implications?   Could Henry Tan please clear this up. Thanks

Henry Tan's picture

I look more on the quality of the post rather than just counting the number of words.

SanjayVyas's picture

To me imechanica is completely a new and unique approach for gaining and/ or sharing knowledge, commenting, questioning or supporting views in a most convenient manner. No doubt this will provide a treasure of information at a single source, plus provide platform to question, express views etc. I assume it will be a challenging task for Dr Tan to use it as a tool for continuous assessment and to make his job easy the contents on blog  should focus on the quality of information rather then quantity of words. 

in line with Ike's submission, it is indeed a good approach and I would like to be associated with this forum even after completion of my MSc. 

regards, Sanjay.

Patricia Fleitas's picture

For me IMECHANICA has been an innovative way to teach and learn. I have to research about different topics, read the post of my colleagues and then prepare my post, in oreder to add useful information. It represents a huge challenge and an oppoortunity to learn form the point of view of different backgrounds and nacionalities. Since the idea of debate was created, I thoght that it was very interesting. I feel that my writting style, strategic thinking and English skills have been improved, thanks to the debate class.

My process of learning is faster, because each colleague contributes with very useful information and also I have realized that people from the Oil and Gas industry outsite of the class are contributing with the debate. I belive that it is also a way to find a job, because people from the industry is cheking your comments and making a judgment about your personality and technical skills.

In order to improve the debate for the next term, I suggest:

  1. Final topics to debate should be selected after a process a elections from the students. The professor can suggest the topics to be elected.
  2. Put a maxium number of topics to avoid the spread of the information and concentrate the students to debate for specific topics.
  3. Improve IMECHANICA. Sometimes is time consuming to post a commet, because the system is collapsed and have some "errors".
  4. Determine the rules of IMECHANICA to the students and make it clear from the beginning, in order to avoid further confusion to the students.

In conclusion Dr. Tan, I think is a very good approach to improve the learning  with critical rezoning. You are doing a big effort to promote new techniques in our University and it is positive for the students, teachers and recognition of the University.


Joan.C.Isichei's picture

Initially, at the start of the iMechanica Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate, I harboured doubts of its success and would have opted for a more traditional method of coursework assessment. I had reservations as a result of the debate taking place in a public domain. I also wondered how Dr Tan would manage to plough through “20 post per person” from a class size of over 70 students; would he assess us fairly? Wouldn’t he run out of steam half way through? Even posting comments proved to be a herculean task due to the site’s high traffic and frequent downtimes. 

I decided to wait it out and see how the debate would progress. Based on my observations so far, I think the Debate has grown on me. The word limit helps in making it less tedious to read through comments associated with a particular post. Dr Tan also assured us he would print out all 20 posts made by each individual and I think this would help in focusing his attention on each student’s work. 

The debate is also laudable in that every time a keyword tied to it is typed in the Google search tab, the first result that pops up is usually the iMechania safety debate blog. I find it exciting that people from all over the world can extract information from the blog. All in all, I think the debate should be kept on as a means of coursework assessment for incoming students.

Yaw Akyampon Boakye-Ansah's picture


think the discussion on iMechanica has been very good. Although I did not
contribute much to daily discussions and I did not have time to read all the
comments, this will be a good way to refer to concepts and develop a research
base especially if articles are well-referenced for others.

Additionally, I find that it
will be easier for students to follow on their reasoning patters more easily in
future without being limited to content as opposed to My Aberdeen where I am
not convinced access will be granted to us should we complete our education.

iMechanica is an environment
where most of the people are educated which allows for arguments based on some
research and a scientific approach.

 The limiting factor
though is that sometimes, the website cannot support the traffic that it
receives from visitors and it crushes. It may be more beneficial also if the
webpage could be made more attractive as there are few aesthetic views which make
it look dull.

 In conclusion, iMechanica
has given me the opportunity to write my views without fear or intimidation. 


Yaw A. Boakye-Ansah



leighmoreton's picture

I believe it would have
been a lot easier for our first week of classes being to discuss
which topics to put on the blog, and by having a set number of around
20 then let people discuss points only on these topics, this would
enable the conversations to spread naturally on different tangents.
Another approach could have been to divide the class into groups, of
again about 20 people, each group would be assigned a topic, and then
rather then having the group meet like with other courses we could
simply converse online on the forums, similar to a virtual team in

At the start I felt
that this continuous assessment is asking for too much work for a
mere 20% of the course, compared to other courses. In some ways I
still believe this but the revised rules have made it a lot easier in
my opinion. I am however still concerned that this blog is available
to public access and that my future employers will be able to see it
from a simple google search of my name. I would feel better if after
the course is finished that my posts were removed from this blog as
my opinions now may change by the time I apply for jobs and I do not
want this held over my head in future interviews.

Leigh Moreton
MSc Renewable Energy

Ekaterina Pavlichenko's picture

I agree with the general consensus of all my colleagues, I too was hesitant at the start not being a computer type of person preferring to default to the more traditional forms of teaching and never having taken part in a blog before thought at the start that this was going to be of limited benefit.

Well obviously I was totally wrong; when I first started I’d defer to general knowledge/experience or research a topic briefly, summarising my recently formed ideas on the topic and then I’d regurgitate this onto the blog, but over time I’m really amazed at my own personal transformation, I’ve found the blog really liberating; now I start by either already having an opinion (I have an opinion on everything :-) ) or researching the topic from the obvious sources, then I read everyone else’s comments to see what others think, then research the topic again to clarify my understanding, sit back and think, ‘what is the real issue here?’, then launch into the blog and let loose with all guns!

Great idea, tremendous learning tool and even if I was to receive a score for this work similar to a British entry in the Eurovision Song Contest; I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part; really, truly a GREAT BLOG!!!

sreehariprabhu's picture

The idea of having a debate in Imechanica was a very good idea. This gave us a lot of opportunity to get knowledge on different topics and most importantly the role of safety in each. By reading the posts by my friends, it was really infromative. Also this made me to refer in deep to know about the topic. It was also a good platform to share each one of our views on every topic. This made it a very successful debating too. Every topic made me think about how safer we can make the industries to avoid the accidents and also made to think about new ideas which can be brought. Since everybody was sharing there ideas, it was good to know the way different people approach a problem and find a way to solve it. Thus the debate was very informative.

Manuel Maldonado's picture


I concur with all comments related to the benefits of having this space for sharing ideas, opinions, learnings about new ways or different ways and perceptions. Patricia has made a good point saying that this process of reading comments and doing some research about particular topics as part of the preparation process of our own comment is very productive and adds more value to a practical learning experience. I did not realized about the value of this sharing experience before I started participating, but once I going through high quality and well supported comments I have to make my best efforts to understand the topics and organize my ideas in order to share a good experience and opinion.

I can see the process could be improved but the improvement only depend on my active and dynamic participation. I think this site and type of forums have open my vision to a field full of ideas where I could find answers and support on subjects that are not my area of expertise. I can see a good opportunity for my professional growing in using this site for creating links with experts in my knowledge field and experts in other areas.

I cannot be more enthusiastic to say that this site is a great field for sharing ideas and experiences. I look forward to use it more regularly!!

Hani Shobaki's picture

The Safety engineering debate is a new and
modern alternative to conventional academic coursework. It brings about more
opportunities for one to develop their argument by exposing them to the
scrutiny of their peers. It can bring up new ideas or angles that the
individual may not have previously considered allowing them a greater learning
experience. In addition there are many topics available, giving the scope to
learn about wide range of safety aspects.

To further improve this assignment I
believe that assigning people into smaller groups who can then meet up, would
allow further development of the debating aspect. In the large class its often
easy for arguments to get lost in the sea of posts.


The Imechanica safety engineering and risk management debate has been a fantastic tool for understanding people’s perception and opinion on issues. Also, it has been a pool of ideas on solving problems, getting more experience in subjects been discussed. The debate has been educative and gives further insights on the debate subjects. The use of the debate as a measure of checking the understanding on the subject matters is also highly commendable. The debate has been able to improve my understanding of various subjects and should be sustained.

Uhunoma Osaigbovo

Subsea Engineering D/L 

ZHANGYANAN's picture

Topic 28: Your view on iMechanica Safety Engineering and Risk Management Debate

Well, this iMechanica is a quite nice platform for students make their ideas mix here. On this website, we can share our opinions, thought we cannot read all of the comments, we also can learn a lot from it.

Here, we can share our problems and even find the solution if we want.

Different from other websites, we can not only get the information from it, but also we can debate with other on the website. Discussion always a good way to improve your knowledge and give us a further study on some aspects of knowledge.

Zhang Yanan   ID: 51233945


Kyle McFarlane's picture

Now that this coursework is nearly at an end I have returned to leave a final comment! 

 I still feel that the idea of the blog/debate for continuous assement was a good one for the reasons outlined in my orignial post in the blog. 


However there have been a number of instances I have been unable to post due to the website being unable to handle the high demand I imagine we have caused on it, this has been rather frustrating. Also alot of the posts people have contributed have carried no relevance to the original thread, for example in how safe is nuclear power for people and the enviroment there is a surplus of blogs about nuclear fission and how nuclear power generates elcetricity.

This is interesting but it has nothing to do with safety and there is no attempt to even tie the two together.

 I feel a different website perhaps one that gives notifications to responses on posts, and with a better  capability to handle the high demand of many students and others posting on various threads could be beneficial.


As this was the first time this coursework has been tried though I feel it was a complete success and the relative teething problems are small and to be expected.


I have found this a very rewarding and interesting expereience


Thanks everyone


Kyle McFarlane  

amir masoud bayat's picture

From my point of view, this debate has been one of the innovative approaches to study in different subjects during one course. This assignment has profound effects on me such as:

  • It expands my horizons through research on different topics.
  • I can write my ideas about several subjects and discuss with my classmates and receive their feedback on each topic while I could not take part in some debates due to embarrassment.
  • I can do this assignment during the semester and study  the lectures in the meantime since I can divide it into 20 times.

Also, I have some suggestion in order to improve this assignment. It would be better to set the rule for students to post on 20 different topics( only one mark on each topic, regardless of the number of posts on that topic). This way, students are encouraged to search on at least 20 different topics which are more challenging than concentrating on few number of topics. Also, in line with Patricia suggestion, it would be better to put a maximum number topic in order to concentrate on main issues.

Regards, Amir

Mehran Vakil's picture

When I visited the Imechanica for the first time, it didn’t seem very user friendly from the first sight I had. This might be one of the reasons I wasn’t keen to write comments about the topics. However, at the time I started writing comments, it dawned on me that the website and assignments can help me through the progression I expect from myself in the Fundamental Safety and Risk Analysis. In addition, it gave me a general approach and understanding toward the other courses I have been studying in this semester.
For instance, we had to research and comment about various energies such as Wind, Wave , Geothermal ,etc. These gave me a lot of good and useful information about the courses I am studying at the current semester.
Sometimes I regret that why I didn’t start my comments earlier. Even though there is a deadline for our comments on topics, I will continue my activities  in this website after I finish the assignment. 

Akuromawaye Apiambo's picture


This is a new dimension in the act of learning and innovation
of its own in the formal academic setting. This could be likened to a mini
research or project work on the known and unknown. Referencing the Kolb’s
learning styles, David Kolb has defined one of the most commonly used models of
learning which are:

     Reflective observation and
abstract conceptualization

Divergers (Concrete
experiencer/Reflective observer)

Divergers take experiences and think deeply about them, thus diverging
from a single experience to multiple possibilities in terms of what this might
mean. This leads us to participating and working with others with different
views and receive constructive feedback in the course of our writing in conversations
that lead to discovery.

2.    Assimilators (Abstract
conceptualizer/Reflective observer)

Assimilators have the most cognitive approach, preferring to think
than to act. They ask 'What is there I can know?' and like organized and
structured understanding.

 They will also learn
through conversation that takes a logical and thoughtful approach.

The best way to teach an assimilator is with lectures that start
from high-level concepts and work down to the detail. Give them reading
material, especially academic stuff and make them to produce write up and


In summary, outlining topics for debate thus give opportunity to
share our experience and also see divers’ views and experience on same topic.
We also approach learning from the point of the unknown to the known by
researching on topic suggested and putting in place a presentable write up.


Learning Styles. [Online]. Available from:  [Accessed 05 December 2012].

Kolb, D.A.
(1984). Experiential Learning.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Apiambo, Akuro


Connie Shellcock's picture

I welcomed this assignment when it was first
introduced however now I have my doubts. I liked the fact that we could look at
a variety of issues rather than going into detail about one, but due to the
website crashing, this task has been frustrating and time consuming. I have
also just logged in just now to do a last minute check on my posts and realised
that some of them are MISSING. I’m not the only one with this problem. This
could prove quite unfair when it comes to marking as I had done these in plenty
of time however now Im going to have to give a last minute try to fill in some
of the blanks.

leighmoreton's picture

Leigh Moreton
MSc Renewable Energy

Henry Tan's picture

You mentioned that you had some posts missing. Please let me know of that.

Hello, My opinion on the matter is covered by a a few different posts, but I will express it all together for myself.Imechanica is by all means an good website with great forum facilities and a open free amount of webspace to detail thoughts view and information on a wide range of topics. However there are a few issues I am finding. First of all the volume of information in the threads especially, nearing the end of the assignment, is so vast it is hard to actually gain much from it. There are a number of posts in each category which are repeating themselves. I understand some topics have a limited amount of information and for student s to gain marks they feel the need to involve lots of information even if it has already been stated, but this pollutes the threads and leaves it very difficult to pick out the key/important information or views in each post. This in turn makes it difficult to reply or respond with constructive criticism or praise for an idea or post.The user interface of Imechanica is at a high level, but there is something about it which can confusion and errors in some post. The yet again not only pollutes the threads but it make it harder to post something in a reader friendly way, a way which the key information can be portrayed.From a Distance learners point of view it is an excellent way to do course work, I can do it from any computer with internet access and can read post on my mobile devices. I feel over the next few year this process will be refined and eventually be an excellent way of developing the students in knowledge of a subject, presenting written work and discussion points and views of many people.

Just my thoughts, any comments, do you agree?



Liam Slaven


leighmoreton's picture

Hi Liam, I completely agree, although I have said I don't like iMechanica in previous posts I do like the idea that is behind the site.  The fact that both on-campus and distance learning students can access the site from any internet capable device has made it a lot easier to complete this project.  When I first started using iMechanca I was using google chrome on my laptop but then after about 3 posts anything I put up appeared as a balnk comment on the site, this I felt was very demoralising.
However after changing my browser and accessing from another computer. a minor inconvenience, I have found myself enjoying joining in conversations with people on the blog.  I like the ability for us on campus students to communicate with the distance learners as it allows us to see other perspectives of the topics rather then from a purely academic perspective.

Leigh Moreton MSc Renewable Energy

Kevin K. Waweru's picture

The use of
iMechanica has helped expand my breadth of knowledge of a wide range of issues
and may prove a success in this assessment.

However the risk
of spending extended periods of time facing a computer screen exposes one to
risks of display screen equipment and back problems.

Perhaps these
issues can be considered for the next assessment.

Kevin K. Waweru

MSc Oil & Gas

Hani Shobaki's picture

As demonstrated above, the user interface of
Imechanica offers up a great challenge in formatting, it is not possible to
simply paste on my system, not matter which program I paste from. There is no
option to delete the code in my above post, and no option to delete the post.
Or if there is, it is not very obvious how to.

Thankfully the posting option on my Aberdeen was
introduced. It is a much simpler interface, while it doesn't offer the option
of style choices and additional media, it is quick and works as expected.
Therefore valuable time is not wasted, trying to migrate my comments from word
or text edit to this forum.

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