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Developing Tools to Improve Visualization and Sketching Skills for Structural Engineering

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Conference

Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled

Location

Davis, California

Publication Date

April 30, 2020

Start Date

April 30, 2020

End Date

October 10, 2020

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36032

Download Count

130

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Paper Authors

biography

Julia Badrya Univerisity of California, Irvine

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Julia Badrya is a graduate student and teaching assistant at UCI, studying structural engineering. During her undergrad, she worked as a tutor and manager of a tutoring center. Julia is passionate about education and exploring ways to enhance the learning experience.

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biography

Beyza Nur Guler University of California, Irvine

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Beyza Nur Guler is a senior civil engineering student at University of California, Irvine specializing in structural engineering, with an interest in engineering education.

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Joel Lanning P.E. University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0783-6946

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Dr. Joel Lanning​ specializes in​ seismic design of civil structures such as bridges and buildings. His research focuses on the development of tools and methods used in structural design and those used in experimental physical testing aimed at improving structural resilience during an earthquake. Lanning is passionate about teaching and is also focused on research and development of strategies to use in the classroom. His teaching philosophy includes building a strong learning community within each class and the use of high-impact practices to engage and challenge his students. ​

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Abstract

The ability to visualize in structural engineering is crucial. Not only is the ability to make sense of existing drawings and images important, but structural engineers need to be able to sketch their own images to convey their designs to others. But students tend to struggle with the ability to visualize and sketch section cuts and details, to correlate various 2D views of 3D structures and components, and to conceptually connect cross sectional axes and properties to member behavior and properties (e.g., cross sectional strong and weak axes determine bending and buckling behaviors). It is important for students to develop this tactile skill so as not to completely rely on computers to render images (which is not usually a trivial task).

In the authors’ experience, using static figures, pictures, and structural drawings is only so effective in teaching these skills. Of course, practicing sketching is an obvious way to improve on this skill, but many instructors of structural design courses (typically junior- or senior-level classes) likely do not spend much time emphasizing this important topic. This may be because “there’s just too much to cover” and many expect students to already have developed this skill in prerequisite courses. Many times, visualizing and sketching various views of generic block shapes is covered in low-level courses. More detailed and specific visuals of cut sections through structures, however, may still be very difficult for even senior-level students to grasp.

Therefore, this paper describes work towards the development of simple easy to implement assignments and other tools for structural design instructors inject to their courses to help improve students’ abilities in sketching and visualization. This includes standard handwritten hard copy assignments, online interactive figures using tools like GeoGebra, and others. Initial effectiveness data is presented together with a plan for validating the tools across several universities in the near future.

Badrya, J., & Guler, B. N., & Lanning, J. (2020, April), Developing Tools to Improve Visualization and Sketching Skills for Structural Engineering Paper presented at Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled, Davis, California. https://peer.asee.org/36032

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