New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Senior level civil engineering students in our department often struggle in the early stages of their capstone senior design project because of their unfamiliarity with building codes and design philosophies, and often lack an ability to solve open-ended design problems. Introducing students to design philosophies, building codes, and some simplified design projects in their junior year can help in their preparation for their capstone project by enhancing their confidence, preparedness, and capacity to solve open-ended engineering design problems. In this evidence-based paper, the impact of a junior-level pre-capstone design project involving the design and optimization a glue laminated timber beam is discussed. The project required junior-level students to calculate the wind, live, and dead loads per ASCE 7-10, use software (STAADPro) to calculate the determine the structural demand, conduct knot timber surveys, determine strength modification factors per ASTM D3737, design the structural members per 2015 AWC national design specifications for wood construction, construct and test a small-scale glulam beam, and develop an oral presentation to summarize the results. After completion of the project, students were found to have relatively high engineering self-efficacy, motivation, and expectancy. The students who completed the pre-capstone project also indicated more curricular emphasis was placed on engineering design and the building codes compared to recent graduates who were not given the project. The students were also found to have higher levels of confidence in engineering design and ability to use tools to solve modern engineering problems.
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