April 30, 2020
April 30, 2020
October 10, 2020
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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