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Assessment of Students’ Prior Knowledge and Learning in an Undergraduate Foundation Engineering Course

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

Balancing Act: Ideas in Pre- & Post- Surveys and Assessment of Professional Skills

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27642

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

biography

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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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 pavement design and analysis, pavement management, pavement instrumentation and engineering education. 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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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 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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Matthew Sleep Oregon Institute of Technology

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Matthew Sleep is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology. Prior to Oregon Tech, Matthew received his PhD at Virginia Tech researching slope stability, levees, transient seepage and reliability. Matthew is from Nashville, TN and has worked for the United States Army Corps of Engineers and private consulting. He currently teaches and continues research on reliability and transient seepage.

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Abstract

Most undergraduate Civil Engineering programs in the United States offer two courses related to geotechnical engineering; one in soil mechanics and the other in foundation engineering. Typically, students take the soil mechanics course during their junior year which focuses on the index and engineering properties of soils. The foundation engineering course is primarily taken by students in their senior year. This course applies the concepts learned in the first course to the analysis and design of foundations. A study was conducted at four primarily undergraduate institutions with Civil Engineering programs (a public university in the Southeast; and three private universities, two in the Northeast and the other in the Central United States). The institutions selected for this study focus primarily on undergraduate teaching. To assess the understanding of key concepts in foundation engineering, a background knowledge probe (pre-test) and course knowledge survey (post-test) were developed. The pre-tests were administered to measure students’ prior geotechnical engineering knowledge and to identify student misconceptions at the beginning of each semester. The same short-answer test (post-test) was administered on the last day of the semester to assess the knowledge gained as a result of the course experience. Additionally, the pre- and post-test instrument was used to measure the effectiveness of various pedagogical approaches and variations in the geotechnical engineering curriculum at these institutions. Detailed statistical analyses were performed using the collected data from three semesters, and preliminary results show that the students gained significant understanding on the various concepts in foundation engineering, and also point to differences in the curriculum at various institutions.

Ghanat, S. T., & Kaklamanos, J., & Selvaraj, S. I., & Walton-Macaulay, C., & Sleep, M. (2017, June), Assessment of Students’ Prior Knowledge and Learning in an Undergraduate Foundation Engineering Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27642

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