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Better Teaching Using Case Histories And Satisfying Abet Too

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Outside the Box in Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.255.1 - 10.255.12



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Paper Authors

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Zhiyong Zhao

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Joe Hagerty

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J. P. Mohsen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Better Teaching Using Case Histories and Satisfying ABET Too

D. J. Hagerty1/ J. P. Mohsen2/Z.Zhao3

Abstract - The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Louisville introduced a case histories course into the curriculum in fall 2004. This course was designed to address the various specialties within CEE and to synthesize what the students learned in different courses. Students participating in the course were drawn from all specializations. Various cases were presented by practicing engineers and members of the faculty each with a different background bringing different points of view into the course. Each case highlighted a different specialty, but also illustrated the need for cooperation among different specialists.

The course satisfies a number of ABET program outcomes and educational objectives. This paper outlines specific program outcomes that were addressed in the course. Both students and case presenters assessed the effectiveness of the course activities. The results of these assessments are presented in this paper.

Keywords: CASE HISTORIES, ABET outcomes, teaching methods.

INTRODUCTION In fall 2004, a new course was added to the curriculum of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Louisville. The course was taught as a trial, to see if a different approach could be used to provide good teaching while simultaneously achieving a number of outcomes identified in ABET evaluation criteria. In the format for this course, the first of two sessions, on Monday each week, was devoted to description of an actual case, with a presenter treating the students as a group of consultants who were asked to define the issues involved in the case and to formulate solutions to the problems that were identified. In the second weekly session on Thursday, the students were required to present their solutions to their “client” for evaluation, and then the “client” would revert to faculty or practitioner status and describe what actually was done in the case to solve the problems that were most important to the actual clients. Students then were required to submit a one-page summary of the case. The case presenter graded the summaries. The way this course was taught has been described elsewhere (1). Not all of the presenters followed the original format exactly; one week was devoted to a first session in which students participated as “evaluators” of highway noise barriers in a simulated public meeting scenario, and then a second session where they presented their evaluations of actual highway noise barriers in the vicinity of the campus; they made the evaluations in groups between Monday and Thursday. Another presenter showed evidence of ten different instances of structural distress and asked the students to explain the causes of the distress.

1 CEE Department, U. Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, 2 CEE Department, U. Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, 3 CEE Department, U. Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292,

2005 ASEE National Conference 1

Zhao, Z., & Hagerty, J., & Mohsen, J. P. (2005, June), Better Teaching Using Case Histories And Satisfying Abet Too Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14474

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