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Assessing the Impact of Educational Factors on Conceptual Understanding of Geotechnical Engineering Topics

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

The Evolving Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29828

Download Count

8

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Paper Authors

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Simon Thomas Ghanat P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Simon Ghanat is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.). He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University. His research interests are in Engineering Education and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. He previously taught at Bucknell University and Arizona State University.

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James Kaklamanos Merrimack College

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Dr. James Kaklamanos is Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. Prior to joining the Merrimack faculty, Jim completed his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He specializes in geotechnical engineering, and his published work has included research on ground-motion prediction equations, site response analyses, uncertainty in earthquake engineering, and engineering education. At Merrimack, Jim has taught courses in geotechnical engineering, foundation engineering, earth retaining structures, earthquake engineering, engineering mechanics, and engineering probability and statistics.

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Corrie Walton-Macaulay Bucknell University

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With degrees in both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Arkansas, and a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Corrie Walton-Macaulay is now a Geotechnical Engineering Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Bucknell University. He teaches the traditional geotechnical courses of soil mechanics and foundation engineering, but also teaches unsaturated soil mechanics, introduction to transportation engineering and mechanics of materials. HIs research area is in unsaturated soil mechanics, energy geotechnics, and transportation infrastructure resiliency.

Address: 1 Dent Drive, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837

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Suresh Immanuel Selvaraj University of Evansville

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Dr. Suresh Immanuel Selvaraj is an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Evansville, IN. He holds a PhD degree from Auburn University and a licensed professional engineer. His research interests are in engineering education, pavement design and analysis, pavement management, and pavement instrumentation. At the University of Evansville, he teaches courses such as transportation engineering, soil mechanics, geotechnical engineering, advanced pavement design and management, and surveying.

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David A. Saftner University of Minnesota, Duluth

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David Saftner is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy and MS and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-8938

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Chris Swan is an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Tufts University. He has additional appointments in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts. His current engineering education research interests focus on community engagement, service-based projects and using an entrepreneurial mindset to further engineering education innovations. He also does research on the development of reuse strategies for waste materials.

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Tanya Kunberger Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Kunberger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering in the U. A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Kunberger received her B.C.E. and certificate in Geochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a minor in Soil Science from North Carolina State University. Her areas of specialization are geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering. Educational areas of interest are self-efficacy and persistence in engineering and development of an interest in STEM topics in K-12 students.

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Abstract

A study on student understanding of geotechnical engineering topics was conducted at several private and public institutions with civil engineering programs. The institutions vary significantly with respect to their size, student population, location, and Carnegie classification. A background knowledge probe (“pre-test”) and course knowledge survey (“post-test”) were developed based on fundamental concepts in geotechnical engineering to assess the knowledge gained in an introductory undergraduate geotechnical engineering course. The pre-and post-tests were administered over a span of several semesters at these institutions to measure the students’ prior geotechnical engineering knowledge, and the knowledge gained as a result of the course experience, respectively. The purpose of this study is to examine several variables that may correlate with the amount of knowledge gained in the conceptual understanding of geotechnical engineering topics. The educational factors of interest include class size, class meeting time (e.g., morning, mid-day, or afternoon), class length and format (e.g., three times a week for 50 minutes vs. twice a week for 75 minutes), laboratory format (e.g., attached to the course vs. separate from the course), institution type (e.g., public vs. private; Carnegie classification), and faculty attributes (e.g., rank and obtainment of P.E. license). Through detailed statistical analyses, preliminary results show that correlation exists between the amount of knowledge gained in conceptual understanding and a few independent variables (most predominantly, the type of institution). This paper presents the institutional context, geotechnical engineering curricula, educational factors considered, results of statistical analyses, conclusions, suggestions for future research and discusses conditions for optimizing student learning in undergraduate geotechnical engineering courses.

Ghanat, S. T., & Kaklamanos, J., & Walton-Macaulay, C., & Selvaraj, S. I., & Saftner, D. A., & Swan, C., & Kunberger, T. (2018, June), Assessing the Impact of Educational Factors on Conceptual Understanding of Geotechnical Engineering Topics Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29828

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