The use of full colour 3D printing in the University of Southern Queensland course offerings

A new dimension of teaching and learning is about to begin at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) through the use of full colour 3D printing in its course offerings.

In a landmark project for Australian higher education, archaeology students will examine and identify 3D replica specimens, produced by Ellipsis Media, USQ’s Print Services business unit.
USQ Archaeology Lecturer Professor Bryce Barker said the University was delivering a new course next year called ‘Archaeological Laboratory Methods: Analysis and Interpretation’, identifying components from archaeological records.

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USQ Senior Project Officer (Technology Demonstrator Projects) Susan Brosnan, Executive Director (Campus Services) Dr Dave Povey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services) & Chief Information Officer Professor Ken Udas, Archaeology Lecturer Professor Bryce Barker and Ellipsis Media Manager Robert Keanalley.

“To do this, students need to handle material that has been excavated and identify it. For example, we might have unearthed a skull and by looking at the teeth, we can identify what animal it is, its age, and other features.”
Professor Barker said through 3D printing technologies students studying by distance could receive the same hands-on experience as students on-campus, essential for the successful learning of this course.
This project is an outcome of USQ’s ICT Technology Demonstrators Project.
USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the Technology Demonstrators Project had been designed as a platform for staff and students to discover and explore the capability and potential of innovative technologies in a learning and teaching context.  
“The demonstrator process is 90 days and is a trial of a product that will improve an educator’s professional practice and ultimately motivate and provide significant enhancement to the student learning journey,” Professor Thomas said.
“Simply, Technology Demonstrators are looking into the classroom of the future.”
Professor Thomas said the use of 3D printing for the new Archaeological course and other Technology Demonstrator outcomes was an example of how the University was expanding its capacity to deliver more benefits to students.
“We continuously seek to explore and drive innovative, evidence-based approaches to the facilitation and delivery of learning and teaching so that all our students receive quality learning experiences and graduate as pioneering connected professionals,” she said.
Professor Ken Udas (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Services) said there had been a number of successful Technology Demonstrator Projects such as virtual animal dissection, teaching space evolution, and educational applications of robotics and 3D printing; as well as various app and e-book innovations.
“Some basic principles of agile development and project management are what helps make the Demonstrators work,” Professor Udas said.
“We have adopted a low barrier, low cost, iterative, time-bound, and failure-free approach that is yielding positive results. We believe that this model is transferable to a rather wide-range of our experimental and innovative activities.”
The replica archaeological specimens are 3D laser scanned and 3D printed in full colour by Ellipsis Media which has refined its 3D Modelling, 3D Laser Scanning and Full Colour 3D printing capability and expertise over the past two and half years.
“With archaeology, anthropology and museum specimens, we can non-invasively laser scan objects ranging in size from 5cm up to the size of a passenger car,” Ellipsis Media Manager Robert Keanalley said.
“It’s perfect for capturing specimens imbedded in rock that traditional methods of plaster casting for replication may otherwise damage or destroy the original relic.”
Ellipsis Media uses the latest 3D Systems Projet 660Pro printer as well as the Artec Eva, Structure Sensor and the NextEngine Ultra HD laser scanners.


Ellipsis Media


University of Southern Queensland


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