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Title: Rationale and Design Approach for Full-scale Experiential Learning Opportunities in Structural Engineering
Full-scale testing can be a powerful form of experiential learning in structural engineering courses. Most curricula focus on the proverbial “nuts and bolts” of structural engineering by teaching students to calculate forces and displacements along with member capacities. Pictures, videos, simulations, and small-scale projects are sometimes used to illustrate structural behavior. However, students regularly struggle to grasp structural behavior whether that is simply sketching a deflected shape or describing failure mechanisms. Rather than passively experiencing structural element or system behavior through pictures, videos, simulations, and small-scale projects, full-scale testing provides students with a first-hand, lasting understanding of fundamental behavior. Additionally, students also gain invaluable perspectives often difficult to glean from traditional classroom instruction such as constructability and tolerance issues. Full-scale testing is essential for student understanding of structural engineering concepts and there is a significant need for well-organized experiential learning opportunities with appropriate scales that successfully illustrate structural behavior. This paper provides the rationale and design approach for full-scale experiential learning opportunities in structural engineering. The rational of the project is based on faculty’s observations related to student understanding of structural behavior in Structural Analysis, Reinforced Concrete Design, Steel Design, and Foundation Design courses further reinforced by survey data regarding students’ perception of the most difficult topics to understand in each course. The design approach of the experiential learning modules highlights several factors including desired structural behavior, scale, testing capabilities, and implementation feasibility. The paper concludes with brief descriptions of thirteen experiential learning modules developed for the four courses to improve student understanding of structural behavior.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1726621
NSF-PAR ID:
10170882
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ASEE Annual Conference proceedings
ISSN:
1524-4644
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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