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Application of Active Learning Techniques in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Curriculum

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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

New Engineering Educators Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.219.1 - 26.219.14



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Paper Authors


Dimitra Michalaka P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Dimitra Michalaka is an Assistant Professor at the department of civil and environmental engineering at The Citadel. Dr. Michalaka received her undergraduate diploma in civil engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), after which she entered into the transportation engineering graduate program at the University of Florida. She graduated with a Master’s of Science in May 2009 and with a Ph.D. in August 2012. Her research is primarily focused on traffic operations, congestion pricing, traffic simulation, and engineering education.

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William J. Davis P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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William J. Davis is a professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and is a registered professional engineer. His research interests focus on transportation infrastructure planning and design, highway safety, and active living by design. He teaches courses in engineering management, transportation engineering, geographic information systems, and land surveying.

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Application of Active Learning Techniques in Undergraduate Civil Engineering CurriculumAbstractEngineering educators are charged with the responsibility of developing future engineers who areprepared to lead societal change in the built environment. Pervasive challenges facing civilengineers include: sustainability, safety, capital funding, economic benefits, environmentalimpacts, equity and regulation. To best prepare engineering graduates to rise to the occasion ofsuch complex demands requires new approaches in classroom instruction and innovativemethods reflecting active learning concepts advanced through the scholarship of teaching. Thispaper describes how active learning techniques are being implemented in undergraduate civilengineering courses to enhance student instruction and better convey skills needed to serve theengineering profession’s crucially important role in society.Active learning techniques used in undergraduate civil engineering courses, taught at a Tier 1research university and undergraduate teaching institution college, are presented and discussedincluding: group class activities, class examples, clicker quizzes, use of technology, hands-onfield experiences, community service projects, and professional skills development viaparticipation in professional organizations and interaction with practicing engineers and localengineering leaders. Data and results from several semester-long applications of active learningtechniques on student performance and corresponding student perceptions are tabulated andanalyzed to explore informative instructional trends and application insights.

Michalaka, D., & Davis, W. J. (2015, June), Application of Active Learning Techniques in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23558

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