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Benefits of Full-scale Physical Models in Civil Engineering Education

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Proven Strategies in Classroom Engagement Part I: Artifacts for Creative Pedagogy

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


S Alireza Behnejad P.E. University of Surrey, UK Orcid 16x16

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Alireza is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Surrey, UK. He obtained his first MSc degree in Architectural Engineering in 2001, followed by over 10 years of industrial experience as an entrepreneur in the field of Design and Construction of Prefabricated Spatial Structures in Iran.
In 2012, Alireza obtained his second MSc in Structural Engineering and he is currently expanding his research as a PhD student in the field of Regularity of Spatial Structures in the University of Surrey. Also, he obtained the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching and he is keen to develop new teaching techniques in Civil Engineering Education.

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Engineering students, usually, show a greater interest in topics which are demonstrated physically rather than those that are explained using the so called ‘chalk and talk’ methods, that is, by oral presentations and blackboard/whiteboard/OHP. Also, students are motivated by hands-on experience and by linking concepts and physical models to real engineering problems. A hands-on project has been designed by the Author for civil engineering students to improve their practical considerations in designing structures. The project is about Design, Assemble and Dismantle (DAD) of a full-scale lattice structure. A specific teaching kit including prefabricated full-scale tubular steel members, as well as required connectors has been designed and manufactured for the DAD Project and the participants should design a structure using (all or part of) the provided structural components. The project is modified to suite the participants at different levels, i.e. postgraduate or undergraduate levels. Also, a simpler version has been offered as a part of the ‘University Promotional Programmes’ for secondary school students.

This paper provides further information about the background of the DAD Project and discusses the Project in more detail. Also, relevant literature is reviewed and a methodology is proposed to assess the potential benefits of using full-scale physical models as a part of a master degree module offered in the academic year 2015-16. Finally, the outcomes of the research, as well as further recommendations are provided.

Behnejad, S. A. (2016, June), Benefits of Full-scale Physical Models in Civil Engineering Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26373

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