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Building on the Moon: An Open-Ended Exercise Benchmarking Freshman CMGT Students

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Novel Methods of Construction Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.259.1 - 23.259.6



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Paper Authors

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Rebecca N Macdonald East Carolina University


Erich Connell East Carolina University

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A registered Architect and Associate Professor of Construction Management. Academic background in the deciplines of; Construction Management, Architecture, and Design. Graduate from Texas A&M University.

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Building on the Moon:  An Open‐Ended Exercise Benchmarking Freshman CMGT Students It has been noted that in the Construction Management degree program students arrive with preconceived notions and experiences about the construction industry.  This can lead to established bias that is difficult to identify and address.  In an attempt to better understand construction management students’ industry perspective/experience, a problem solving exercise, “Building on the Moon”, was implemented in the introductory course.  “Building on the Moon” was developed as an opened ended problem statement that would allow the instructors to engage and assess students.  The writing/design exercise followed course textbook reading that provided a pragmatic historical rationale the evolution of construction from its infancy.  The exercise was intended for a group of pairs to propose a residence on the moon, including a materials list, method of construction, design rationale and a sketch.  Fifty‐five students submitted work, with vastly different conclusions.  The responses were categorized allowing for quantifiable results.  Benchmarking of current students will allow for additional curriculum enrichment and adjustments. The instructors, an architect and an engineer, purposefully provided minimal direction to prevent the projection of their bias on the students and to gain further insight of students through a less intimidating approach.    

Macdonald, R. N., & Connell, E. (2013, June), Building on the Moon: An Open-Ended Exercise Benchmarking Freshman CMGT Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19273

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