June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.251.1 - 14.251.11
Assessing the Impact of Failure Case Studies on the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Curriculum: Final Report
This paper is the third and last in a series documenting work to assess the impact of the introduction of failure case studies into engineering mechanics and civil engineering courses. Results from surveys and focus groups of both students and faculty are presented, along with recommendations for improving assessment instruments and processes. The students enjoyed the case studies and believed that they contributed to learning the course material. The case studies stimulated their interest. Most faculty who had participated in the one-day case study workshop and who responded to the survey had made at least some use of the cases in their courses. The respondents that had used case studies believed that the benefits justified the cost.
Over the past three years research has evaluated the impact of including failure case studies in specific civil engineering and engineering mechanics courses. The effect of the failure case studies on student learning has been assessed through surveys as well as focus groups, led by researchers from the College of Education and Human Services. The case studies were pilot tested in two courses, Strength of Materials (sophomore, engineering mechanics) and Construction Planning and Estimating (senior, civil engineering) over the course of several years. Preliminary results have been previously reported elsewhere1, 2. The project results have also been presented at international conferences in Mumbai, India3, and London, United Kingdom4.
A series of faculty workshops were also carried out under this project. The workshop participants were primarily from U.S. civil engineering programs, but also included faculty in architectural, construction, and other engineering programs, and faculty from Canada and Ireland. The workshop materials included copies of case study technical papers along with a CD of PowerPoint presentations on individual case studies. The workshops were held in Cleveland (2006), Denver (2007), Pittsburgh (2008), and London (2008). Three workshops had also been carried out under an earlier NSF project. Findings from the workshops have been previously presented5.
The final products of this project include a book and a web site. The failure case studies developed under this project and an earlier NSF-funded project have resulted in a book published by the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) Press, Beyond Failure: Forensic Case Studies for Civil Engineers6. This book breaks down failure case studies into chapters arranged by engineering courses and topics.
Full and abbreviated versions of the case studies featured in the book, as well as some others, have also been assembled into a web site. This web site (http://matdl.org/failurecases/) is part of the Materials Digital Library, which is in turn a portal of the National Science Digital Library.
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