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Educational Technology Platforms and Shift in Pedagogical Approach to Support Computing Integration Into Two Sophomore Civil and Environmental Engineering Courses

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Tech Tools and Tips

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37005

Download Count

123

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Paper Authors

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Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7658-6517

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Dr. Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis holds a Diploma degree in Civil-Surveying Engineering (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), a M.A. in Geography (University of California, Los Angeles), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Air Quality, Science and Environmental Policy, and Engineering Risk and Uncertainty. Her recent research is about gaseous emissions of reactive nitrogen from fertilized fields into the atmosphere and impacts on air quality and climate change.

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Eleftheria Kontou University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Kontou joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in October 2019. She received her PhD in Civil Engineering, focusing on transportation systems, from the University of Florida under the advisement of Dr. Yafeng Yin. She holds a MSc from Virginia Tech in the same field. She graduated with a BSc in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and conducted research at the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before beginning her current faculty position at UIUC.

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Christopher W. Tessum University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Christopher Tessum joined the CEE department as an Assistant Professor in January 2020. His research focuses on modeling air pollution and its health impacts, quantifying inequities in the distribution of those impacts, and proposing and testing solutions. He studies the relationships between emissions, the human activities that cause them, and the resulting health impacts, and he develops modeling capabilities to enable these types of analyses. Before joining UIUC, Dr. Tessum was a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He received a Ph.D. (2014) in Civil, Environmental and Geo- Engineering, and a B.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering (2006), from the University of Minnesota.

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Lei Zhao University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Lei Zhao is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant professor affiliated with the National Center of Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research concerns the physical and engineering processes in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer where most human activities and environmental systems are concentrated, with a particular focus on built surfaces and urban environments. He combines theory, numerical modeling, remote sensing and in situ observations, and cutting-edge machine learning methods to study environmental fluid mechanics and land-atmosphere dynamics that relate to urban environments, microclimatology and hydrology, climate change, climate impacts and adaptation. Dr. Zhao received his Ph.D. (2015) in atmospheric and environmental science from the School of the Environment at Yale University. Before joining at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. He obtained his B.S. degree (2009) in Physics and Atmospheric Physics from Nanjing University in China.

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Hadi Meidani University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Hadi Meidani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2012. Prior to joining UIUC, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC in 2012-2013 and in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah in 2013-2014. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award to study fast computational models for energy-transportation systems. He is also the recipient of the student paper award in probabilistic methods at the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference in 2012. His research interests are uncertainty quantification, scientific machine learning, and decision making under uncertainty.

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Abstract

Computing is one of the major focal skill sets, within the scope of a department-wide curriculum modernization, at the sophomore level for civil and environmental engineering (CEE) students. Two courses were chosen to lead the modernization effort, with a view to scaffolding to upper level courses. The first course is on system engineering and economics (SEE). The second course is an introduction to engineering risk and uncertainty (ERU) through introductory probability and statistics. Python was chosen as the computational tool for SEE and R was chosen for ERU. Two tools were chosen to communicate that 1) computing literacy is more than the specific tool used; 2) different tools are better suited for different applications; 3) different tools can work together, taking advantage each tool’s strengths for a given application. Teaching of the computing language was integrated within the substantive material for each course, after a set of practice assignments, in the first 2-3 weeks of instruction. To support computing practice, we took advantage of an on-line educational platform which allows, coding questions, problem randomization and emphasizes mastery. The system supports homework assignments, class worksheets and frequent exams. To allow space for student active learning, both courses switched to a student-centered learning mode. Students watch one or two lecture video quizzes, with 5-12 min duration, before they go to class. During class, students work on worksheets which aim to student working with the material for a deeper level of understanding, sometimes by questions pushing the students to go beyond the theory narration in the video and sometimes by applying the concepts to solve problems with CEE context. Students are assigned to teams of 3-5. Because of precautions for the spread of COVID-19, all student teams connect on Zoom and teams are pre-assigned to breakout out rooms, where teams cooperate, while the instructor and TAs visit the breakout rooms to answer questions. We are currently, in the first semester of implementing the student-centered learning model. The goal of the paper is to present our technology enabled approach along with initial assessment of outcomes. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of this first implementation of computing with a student-centered learning model will be based on the following sets of available information: 1) Grading of submitted work; 2) Student feedback and reflection of their learning experience; and 3) Informal assessment from instructor interaction with the student teams. The focal points of our assessment are, respectively: 1) student learning as demonstrated through formative and summative assignment evaluation, 2) student perceptions of the student-centered model and 3) degree of student engagement during class and retention of the class community spirit, despite the online environment.

Koloutsou-Vakakis, S., & Kontou, E., & Tessum, C. W., & Zhao, L., & Meidani, H. (2021, July), Educational Technology Platforms and Shift in Pedagogical Approach to Support Computing Integration Into Two Sophomore Civil and Environmental Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37005

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