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Design and Implementation of Experiential Learning Modules for Reinforced Concrete

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Project-based and Experiential Learning in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Matthew D. Lovell P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Matthew Lovell is an Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and he currently serves as the Interim Senior Director of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment office. He is also serving as the director of the Making Academic Change Happen (MACH) program. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University, and he holds his PE license in Indiana. Matt is very active with respect to experimentation in the classroom. He greatly enjoys problem-based learning and challenge-based instruction. Matt is the 2018 recipient of the American Concrete Institute’s Walter P. Moore, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award. He was awarded Teacher of the Year for the Illinois Indiana section of ASEE in 2017. Also, he was awarded the Daniel V. Terrell Outstanding Paper Award from ASCE. Matt is highly active in ASEE, currently serving as the ASEE CE Division’s Freshman Director. In 2014, Matt received the ASEE CE Division Gerald R. Seeley Award for a paper highlighting a portion of his work regarding the development of a Master’s Degree at Rose-Hulman.

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J. Chris Carroll Saint Louis University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Carroll is an Associate Professor and the Civil Engineering Program Coordinator in Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at Saint Louis University. His experimental research interests focus on reinforced and prestressed concrete, while his engineering education research interests focus on experiential learning at both the university and K-12 levels. Dr. Carroll is the chair of ACI Committee S802 - Teaching Methods and Educational Materials and he has been formally engaged in K-12 engineering education for nearly ten years.

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Kyle Kershaw P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Kyle Kershaw is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Kyle's primary teaching duties include courses in geotechnical engineering and construction materials. His research interests include behavior and monitoring of in-place foundations and retaining structures. In addition to his teaching and research duties, Kyle is involved in geotechnical consulting and Engineers Without Borders.

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Alec C. Derks Saint Louis University

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Most undergraduate civil engineering programs include an introductory course in reinforced concrete design. The course generally includes an introduction to the fundamentals of reinforced concrete behavior, the design of simple beams and one-way slabs to resist shear and flexure, and the design of short columns. Because of the scale of typical civil engineering structures, students commonly do not get to experience large or full-scale structural behavior as a part of an undergraduate reinforced concrete course. Rather, students typically learn fundamental concepts through theoretical discussions, small demonstrations, or pictures and images. Without the interaction with full-scale structural members, students can struggle to develop a clear understanding of the fundamental behavior of these systems such as the differences in behavior of an over or under-reinforced beam. Additionally, students do not build an appreciation for the variations between as-built versus theoretical designs. Large-scale models can illustrate such behavior and enhance student understanding, but most civil engineering programs lack the physical equipment to perform testing at this scale. The authors from University A and University B have designed and implemented large-scale tests for in-class use that allow students to experience fundamental reinforced concrete behavior. Students design and test several reinforced concrete members using a modular strong-block testing system.

This paper provides a detailed overview of the design, fabrication, and implementation of four large-scale experiential learning modules for an undergraduate reinforced concrete design course. The first module focuses on service load and deflections of a reinforced concrete beam. The second and third modules focus on flexural failure modes and ductility. The fourth module focuses on shear design and failure modes. Each module uses a large scale reinforced concrete beam (Flexure specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 19 ft Shear specimens: 12 in. x 14 in. x 10 ft.) that was tested on a modular strong-block testing system. The four modules were used throughout the reinforced concrete design course at University A and University B to illustrate behavior concurrent to the presentation of various reinforced concrete design concepts.

Lovell, M. D., & Carroll, J. C., & Kershaw, K., & Derks, A. C. (2021, July), Design and Implementation of Experiential Learning Modules for Reinforced Concrete Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36910

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