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Employing Augmented Reality Throughout a Civil Engineering Curriculum to Promote 3D Visualization Skills

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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

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37026

Download Count

105

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Paper Authors

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Kevin A. Waters P.E. Villanova University

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Dr. Kevin Waters is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. He teaches numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in water resources engineering including fluid mechanics, hydrology & hydraulics, and open channel hydraulics. Dr. Waters also teaches general civil engineering courses that utilize industry software such as ArcGIS and AutoCAD.

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Jonathan Hubler Villanova University

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Dr. Jonathan Hubler is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University, with expertise in geotechnical engineering. His research interests include geotechnical earthquake engineering, static and dynamic response of soils in the laboratory and field, soil liquefaction, and beneficial reuse of recycled materials in geotechnical engineering. Dr. Hubler teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Soil Mechanics, Foundation Design, and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering.

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Kristin M. Sample-Lord P.E. Villanova University

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Dr. Kristin Sample-Lord is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University, with expertise in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. Her research focuses on soil barrier systems for protection of human health and the environment and geotechnical aspects of stormwater control measures. Dr. Sample-Lord teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Geology for Engineers, Soil Mechanics and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

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Virginia Smith Villanova University

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Andrea L. Welker Villanova University

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Dr. Andrea L. Welker, PE, is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and a Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. Her research focuses on effectiveness of stormwater control measures at both the site and watershed scale. She is a past Chair of the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE.

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Abstract

Use of Augmented Reality (AR) sandboxes has gained popularity in “please touch” science museums and introductory earth and environmental science courses to facilitate student visualization of concepts in three dimensions. University faculty who have access to AR sandboxes typically utilize them in discrete learning experiences (i.e., one specific activity, module or course), rather than a series of interactions with the technology to introduce and then reinforce 3D visualization skills. A case study is presented herein of how student learning experiences with the AR sandbox have been woven throughout the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum at Villanova University. A series of progressive AR sandbox learning activities have been implemented in freshmen and junior level civil engineering courses, and additional modules are planned for other courses in the sophomore and senior years. Planning and implementation of these modules has been a collaborative effort between faculty across multiple disciplines within the department (geotechnical, water resources, and structural engineering). The purpose of the AR sandbox interventions is to facilitate student engagement and improve understanding and ability to apply basic civil engineering concepts that require three-dimensional visualization skills, supporting the goal to graduate students who are professionally prepared to serve as effective engineers. Details are provided for three of the modules to allow for adaptation by faculty at other universities with access to similar technology. In the freshman-level course Civil Engineering Fundamentals, students insert Plexiglas sheets in the sandbox and then create plan, profile, and cross-sectional views of elevation data. In the junior-level Soil Mechanics course taught in the fall, students build upon their prior experience with the AR sandbox and apply new concepts from lecture to evaluate slope stability and calculate earthwork volumes. In Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrology, taught in the spring of junior year, the learning module includes creating a watershed landscape in the sandbox and simulating rainfall to visualize flow patterns, directions, and travel time through the basin. Based on positive faculty and student feedback regarding the current AR learning experiences included in civil engineering courses at Villanova University, additional modules are planned for sophomore and senior-level courses to further enrich 3D-visualization outcomes from a curriculum-wide approach.

Waters, K. A., & Hubler, J., & Sample-Lord, K. M., & Smith, V., & Welker, A. L. (2021, July), Employing Augmented Reality Throughout a Civil Engineering Curriculum to Promote 3D Visualization Skills Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37026

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