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  1. null (Ed.)
    Most undergraduate civil engineering programs include an introductory course in reinforced concrete design. The course generally includes an introduction to the fundamentals of reinforced concrete behavior, the design of simple beams and one-way slabs to resist shear and flexure, and the design of short columns. Because of the scale of typical civil engineering structures, students commonly do not get to experience large or full-scale structural behavior as a part of an undergraduate reinforced concrete course. Rather, students typically learn fundamental concepts through theoretical discussions, small demonstrations, or pictures and images. Without the interaction with full-scale structural members, students can struggle to develop a clear understanding of the fundamental behavior of these systems such as the differences in behavior of an over or under-reinforced beam. Additionally, students do not build an appreciation for the variations between as-built versus theoretical designs. Large-scale models can illustrate such behavior and enhance student understanding, but most civil engineering programs lack the physical equipment to perform testing at this scale. The authors from St. Louis University (SLU) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) have designed and implemented large-scale tests for in-class use that allow students to experience fundamental reinforced concrete behavior. Students design and test several reinforced concrete members using a modular strong-block testing system. This paper provides a detailed overview of the design, fabrication, and implementation of three large-scale experiential learning modules for an undergraduate reinforced concrete design course. The first module focuses on service load and deflections of a reinforced concrete beam. The first and second modules also focus on flexural failure modes and ductility. The third module focuses on shear design and failure modes. Each module uses a large scale reinforced concrete beam (Flexure specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 19 ft, Shear specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 10 ft.) that was tested on a modular strong-block testing system. The three modules were used throughout the reinforced concrete design course at SLU and RHIT to illustrate behavior concurrent to the presentation of various reinforced concrete design concepts. 
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  2. Structural analysis is the foundation of a structural engineer’s education, which generally includes topics ranging from basic statics to solving complex indeterminate structures. Most courses focus on theoretical approaches to solving and understanding problems with a large focus on determining internal forces, external reactions, and displacements. In many cases, courses also include concurrent discussion about deflected shapes and actual behavior compared to theoretical assumptions. Courses may also use pictures, videos, simulations, and small, table-top models to illustrate such behavior. However, students still struggle with understanding structural behavior and the effects of as-built versus theoretical connections. Such differences are difficult to convey simply using photos, videos, simulations, and small, table-top models. Students never have the opportunity to physically feel the differences and experience large-scale models that illustrate such behavior mainly due to cost, fabrication complexity, and material stiffness. The authors from University A and University B designed large-scale, lightweight models for in-class use that allow students to experience structural behavior and feel the differences between various types of as-built connections. This paper provides a detailed overview of the design, fabrication, and implementation of four large-scale experiential learning modules for an undergraduate structural analysis course using lightweight and flexible fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) structural shapes. The first module focuses on the behavior of beam-to-column connections compared to theoretical assumptions; the second module focuses on load paths and tributary areas related to a typical floor system; the third module focuses on the deflected shapes of determinate and indeterminate beams; and the fourth module focuses on the behavior of a portal frame subjected to both vertical and horizontal loads with various support configurations. The four modules were used throughout the structural analysis course at University A and University B to illustrate structural behavior concurrent to the presentation of various structural analysis concepts. 
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