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An Online Course and Teacher Resource for Residential Building Codes and Above-Code Construction Methods

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Pedagogical Approaches in Construction Education

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Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.205.1 - 26.205.10



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Paper Authors


Tripp Shealy Virginia Tech

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Tripp Shealy is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech.

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Audra Ann Kiesling Clemson University

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Audra Kiesling is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University.

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Timothy R. Smail Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

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Tim Smail, Senior Vice President – Engineering & Technical Programs
A results-driven professional, Tim has extensive educational, project management and research experience in disaster mitigation building practices. Tim leads the research and technical aspects of signature FLASH programs including the professional training program Blueprint for Safety. Tim is also the key collaborator with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to embed mitigation information into the long-term rebuilding process. Tim is a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation –Science Master’s Program (NSF-SMP) in Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure in the Clemson University Civil Engineering Department and the Florida International University Wall of Wind (WoW) Technical Advisory Committee. Tim holds a BSEE from Penn State University and a MSEE from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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An Online Course and Teacher Resource on Residential Building Codes and Above Code Construction Methods Community destruction and loss of life due to residential building code (RBC) violationsstill occur too frequently. Increasing code enforcement is often not possible due to lack of fundsand resources. Teaching RBC to college-level construction students is another way to encouragegreater code compliance and enhance community resilience. In a national curriculum review ofconstruction management, architecture, and civil engineering programs (2-year, 4-year, andgraduate degrees, 950 in total) only seven percent provide courses with RBC related learningoutcomes. A follow-up national survey to construction, architecture and civil engineering facultysuggests the barriers to teach codes are the lack of available resources and low cognitive studentlearning perceived in teaching RBC. In response to these findings an online course wasdeveloped. Students learn how codes will influence their professional careers. They identify thedifference between prescriptive and performance based codes and communicate how codes relateto the performance of a structure. Student learning outcomes are created through multiple activelearning methods. For example, house plans are distributed to students, and in a problem-basedapproach, students “red line” drawings to meet code requirements. In a case-based module,students identify solutions to grey-water systems that do not meet current codes. Course moduleswere developed with an advisory committee including building code officials, architects,construction managers, disaster mitigation experts, and academic faculty. Advisory membersanonymously submitted feedback for each module. Feedback was compiled, discussed andcourse content edited. This review-discuss-edit process was repeated until a final version wasagreed upon with the advisory committee. The course and content is a free resource to collegeeducators. Over thirty modules, house plans and videos of industry professionals are embeddedwithin. Modules can be delivered in a semester long course but can also stand-alone. Graduatestudents at Clemson University will enroll in the course for Spring 2015. Preliminary studentassessments will be discussed in the final draft of the paper and presentation. Course  

Shealy, T., & Kiesling, A. A., & Smail, T. R. (2015, June), An Online Course and Teacher Resource for Residential Building Codes and Above-Code Construction Methods Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23544

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