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A Case Study Of Using The Web To Teach Civil Engineering Ethics, Professionalism And History

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.7.1 - 6.7.11



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Vincent Drnevich

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Session 2570

A Case Study of Using the Web to Teach Civil Engineering Ethics, Professionalism and History

Vincent P. Drnevich Purdue University


This paper shares the experience of the author in developing and using the World Wide Web as a teaching-learning aid in a three-credit hour, required junior level course in civil engineering that covers the topics of engineering economics, ethics, professionalism, case studies, and civil engineering history. The course is taught in one large section with 70 to 100 students. The author has taught the course over nine years, but use of the Web to assist in teaching the course was begun in the mid-1990’s. In 1998, the course was migrated to WebCT, a very popular and powerful commercial course management software that limits access to those officially associated with the course. All course “lectures” were given live by the instructor or guest lecturers, but made use of the Web in real time in the classroom to access relevant materials. The instructor used collaborative learning procedures for both in-class and out-of-class exercises. Students submitted homeworks electronically through the Web site. Grading consisted of attaching grades and electronic notes to the files similar to grading notes applied to assignments submitted on paper. The graded assignments were returned to the students through the Web site thus giving both the instructor and the student graded copies of the assignments. Even the final exam was given electronically and it was partially graded automatically (multiple choice, matching, simple answer questions) by WebCT. The instructor and teaching assistant graded the essay questions. The software allows the student to see his/her grades on all assignments, exams, and other categories at any time from anywhere there is access to the Web. Likewise the instructor has access to the course web site from anywhere he/she has access to the web. Overall, the process took more time to set up, but allows for very effective access to information, some of which is exceptionally instructive. Students like to use the technology, but don’t use it as effectively as they could. The author, while still having much to learn about effective use of this technology, will continue to use it in all his courses in the future.

I. Introduction

This paper is about the use of the World-Wide Web in a three-credit hour course required for junior civil engineering students at Purdue University. The course covers engineering economics for half the course and the remaining portion of the course covers engineering ethics, professionalism, case studies, and history. Several sessions of the course are reserved for one or two engineering case studies, usually presented by an engineering practitioner. The course enrollment is typically in the range of 70 to 100 students each semester and the course is taught in one section. About twenty percent of the students are from other engineering disciplines who choose this course as an elective. The author teaches the part of the course dealing with ethics, Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Drnevich, V. (2001, June), A Case Study Of Using The Web To Teach Civil Engineering Ethics, Professionalism And History Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8985

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