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Experiential Learning for Teaching Structural Analysis to Non-Engineering Students

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2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

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April 7, 2017

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April 7, 2017

End Date

April 8, 2017

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Mehdi Shokouhian Morgan State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Mehdi Shokouhian is a Full-time Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Construction Management, and an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering at Morgan State University. Dr. Shokouhian earned his PhD Degree in Structural Engineering at the Tsinghua University in Beijing China. His PhD research focused on ductility-based design and structural stability of high strength steel structures using theoretical, numerical and experimental methods. Dr. Shokouhian has published several peer-reviewed journal papers since 2004 and participated in a number of international high ranking conferences. As regards academic experiences, he is currently teaching undergraduates and graduate students at Morgan State University. He was officially employed as Lecturer in Islamic Azad University in 2002, he obtained considerable teaching experience for eight years (2002-2010) and he lectured several courses in Civil and Structural Engineering as well as Engineering Management.

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Monique H. Head Morgan State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Monique Head is Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the School of Engineering and Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. She earned her bachelor and master of civil engineering degrees from the University of Delaware in 2000 and 2002, respectively, and her doctorate in structural engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May 2007. Her research and teaching interests include experimental testing, detailed analytical modeling using state-of-the-art software to study the responses of bridges, structural dynamics, bridge engineering, performance-based bridge design using AFRP composite materials, reinforced concrete design, seismic retrofitting of bridges, and engineering education. Dr. Head is a member of several national professional organizations, and enjoys facilitating engineering outreach activities for K-12 students to stimulate an excitement for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Learning structural analysis, which is a fundamental topic for core subjects like statics, has been always a challenge for non-civil engineering students who must take statics as a mandatory course. Recent experience teaching this subject also to architecture students with limited mathematics and physics background makes learning statics very arduous for these students. To overcome these challenges, providing experiential learning experiences was sought to teach both non-civil engineering majors as well as architecture students through teaching the theory, testing in the lab, and computer simulation. Visually oriented introduction to structural theory enhances understanding of concept and fundamental of structural analysis, which is not always an effortless task even for civil engineering students. Laboratory tests help students to effectively absorb engineering courses such as statics and strength of materials. Exposing students to laboratory tests, besteads them to better visualize the connection between theoretical concepts and the experimental nature of real building structures and materials. Implementing structural modeling software is also another value that can improve students’ understanding of structural analysis, particularly architecture students who have better understanding of three-dimensional visualization. Moreover, having a basic knowledge of a structural analysis software, that is compatible with Building Information Modeling (BIM) products, makes it easier and more efficient to develop design process. In this study, an undergraduate non-civil engineering class was selected as case study and the new method was implemented to evaluate the students’ learning. Results of formative assessment show tremendous enhancement of students’ performance in their homework and exams.

Shokouhian, M., & Head, M. H. (2017, April), Experiential Learning for Teaching Structural Analysis to Non-Engineering Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

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