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Development and Evaluation of an Evidence-based Instrumentation Course in Civil Engineering

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Curricular Transformation

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Shawn Griffiths University of Wyoming

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Shawn Griffiths is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming. Shawn holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Utah State University (2009), M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas (2011) and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He believes attitude and hard work are the two most important ingredients in successful learning. As such, he strives to have a classroom that is filled with ideas, questions, and a positive environment. He also believe school is the place to make mistakes, and encourages students to be brave enough to “try, try again,” until they succeed.

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Janel Seeley

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This is an evidence-based practice paper. As technology advances, field instrumentation and real-time data analyses are quickly becoming a part of many civil engineering (CE) projects. However, many CE graduates are not equipped with the necessary skills to select and deploy the plethora of field instruments available to them. This is likely due to unfamiliarity with tools that are more often designed and used by electrical and mechanical engineering students. Likewise, the analyses of the data can be confusing and difficult to perform. Regardless of students’ apprehension, instrumentation use grows because these tools can be used to validate important design assumptions and monitor performance as the design is built. This is especially true in situations when unknown design parameters must be verified and workers safety may be compromised, such as a large earthwork and shoring projects. The experience CE students gain in instrumentation is non-existent or scant in many undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the U.S. The holistic approach to this course includes; instrumentation selection, data collection, data analyses, data interpretation and finally decision making. The course is designed to give students hands-on instrumentation experience through the installation and collection of laboratory data. The labs are designed and run by graduate students enrolled in the course with instructor oversight. Because the department is a mix of many disciplines within CE including; Transportation, Structures, Geotechnical, Hydraulic, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, a breadth of instrumentation is covered. This course aims to develop the students higher-order level of thinking and decision making skills, and culminates with a comprehensive final project. This paper will present how the instrumentation course was designed and allow others to build from the successes and challenges realized from the pilot offering.

Griffiths, S., & Seeley, J. (2018, June), Development and Evaluation of an Evidence-based Instrumentation Course in Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah.

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