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Construction Site Tour as a High Impact Pedagogical Technique to Actively Engage and Enhance Students Performance in an Online Engineering Class

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2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Publication Date

April 7, 2017

Start Date

April 7, 2017

End Date

April 8, 2017

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Oludare Adegbola Owolabi P.E. Morgan State University

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Dr. Oludare Owolabi, a professional engineer in Maryland, joined the Morgan State University faculty in 2010. He is the assistant director of the Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research (CATIER) at Morgan State University and the director of the Civil Engineering Undergraduate Laboratory. He has over eighteen years of experience in practicing, teaching and research in civil engineering. His academic background and professional skills allows him to teach a range of courses across three different departments in the school of engineering. This is a rare and uncommon achievement.
Within his short time at Morgan, he has made contributions in teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses. He has been uniquely credited for his inspirational mentoring activities and educating underrepresented minority students. Through his teaching and mentoring at Morgan State University he plays a critical role in educating the next generation of underrepresented minority students, especially African-American civil engineering students.
He is also considered to be a paradigm of a modern engineer. He combines practical experience with advanced numerical analysis tools and knowledge of material constitutive relations. This is essential to address the challenges of advanced geotechnical and transportation research and development. He is an expert in advanced modeling and computational mechanics. His major areas of research interest centers on pavement engineering, sustainable infrastructure development, soil mechanics, physical and numerical modeling of soil structures, computational geo-mechanics, constitutive modeling, pavement design, characterization and prediction of behavior of pavement materials, linear and non-linear finite element applications in geotechnical engineering, geo-structural systems analysis, structural mechanics, sustainable infrastructure development, and material model development. He had been actively involved in planning, designing, supervising, and constructing many civil engineering projects, such as roads, storm drain systems, a $70 million water supply scheme which is comprised of treatment works, hydraulic mains, access roads, and auxiliary civil works. He had developed and optimized many highway design schemes and models. For example, his portfolio includes a cost-effective pavement design procedure based on a mechanistic approach, in contrast to popular empirical procedures. In addition, he had been equally engaged in the study of capacity loss and maintenance implications of local and state roads (a World Bank-sponsored project). He was the project manager of the design team that carried out numerical analyses to assess the impact of the new shaft and tunnel stub construction on existing London Underground Limited (LUL) structures as per the proposed alternative 3 design of the Green park Station Step access (SFA) Project in U. K. He was also the project manager of Category III design check for the Tottenham Court Road Tunnel Underground Station upgrade Project in UK.

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High impact pedagogical techniques and tools are very crucial in enhancing learners' engagement and mastery of competencies/concepts in an online environment. To facilitate learners’ engagement and mastery of engineering concepts, instructor-learners, content-learners, and learner-learner interactions in an online environment; teaching techniques and tools must be carefully selected. This paper describes how construction site tour was adopted as a high impact pedagogical technique to actively engage and enhance students’ performance in an online Statics class during a short mini-winter semester. It has been noted that students become more engaged when learning experiential, hands-on, inquiry–based and project oriented. The paper further reveals how this technique fosters direct hands-on experience where students are given the opportunity to learn in real-world settings (construction site) and reflect in a classroom setting. The online environment gave the students the opportunities to achieve the course objectives while residing in their home countries/states during the winter break. As the students were spread all over the world during the winter break some in America, Asia, Europe and in the middle east, they were required to visit any construction site in their vicinity where they would be able to visualize and experience the application of principles of statics and dynamics in the safe operation and maintenance of all the construction equipment as well as visualize the structural members of the infrastructure. The students were required to write a detailed report in accordance with an earlier supplied rubrics, which served as an instrument to assess the student achievement from the real-life application pedagogy. In order for the author to validate that the students actually visited the site, the author adopted an innovative approach by requiring each student to produce a construction site tour video with each student appearing in the video. The instruments that were used to assess the impact of the construction site tour on students’ performance were the construction site report and video; and the correlation of the construction tour grade with the overall course grade. There is a strong statistical association (90% correlation) between the construction site tour grade and final course grade. The paper finally recommends that this pedagogy can be adopted by engineering programs that are contemplating of offering Statics in an online environment.

Owolabi, O. A. (2017, April), Construction Site Tour as a High Impact Pedagogical Technique to Actively Engage and Enhance Students Performance in an Online Engineering Class Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--29251

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