San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.1503.1 - 25.1503.17
“Green Projects to Pavements” A Project-Based Learning Approach to Introducing Sustainability to Civil Engineering StudentsMost individuals from birth on learn in an inductive manner (ie. learning from discoveryor observation, contrary to most styles of teaching used in the classroom today. Today’seducation system adheres to a deductive style in which instructors present thefundamentals that lead to application. In addition, the majority of engineering studentsare visual, sensing, and active learners where as, traditional delivery in engineeringacademia is auditory, passive, and sequential. This incompatibility in learning styles anddelivery methods may result in some students’ lack of interest in the course, decreasedperformance, and potentially a decrease in student retention. The objective of this studywas to evaluate the problem-based learning approach in introducing sustainability andconcrete design and placement in an effort to increase student learning. The goal of anyinstructor is to engage students and find more effective methods of teaching coursetopics. This study addresses these objectives and provides faculty teaching similarcourses at other institutions the necessary information needed to implement this program.Sustainability is a major topic that is being addressed by city, state, and nationalgovernments as well as globally. It is important for students to be introduced tosustainability as they will be the individuals forced to consider resource consumption,greenhouse gas emissions, and heat island effect. This Green Projects-to-Pavements program introduces the topic of sustainabilitywhile enhancing materials learning through a project-based learning approach. Thisprogram was implemented in the junior level civil engineering course Introduction toStructural Materials at the University of Colorado Denver. Students were provided aproject goal (design, test, and place a sustainable concrete pavement) and given access toresources that aided in their design of a sustainable concrete mixture. The instructoracted as a facilitator and advisor to the students as opposed to the instructor using adeductive approach and lecturing on the topic. This program introduces a learning stylethat is more compatible with typical engineering students (inductive, active, and sensory(visual and kinesthetic styles). Students were active in performing their own researchrather than being passive listeners in course lectures. In addition, the students mixed andtested concrete themselves which provided for a more “hands on” role in the learningprocess. Students experienced both visual and kinesthetic learning through seeing theconcrete mixed and tested as well as physically placing the concrete during theapplication phase of the study The performance of the students using this teaching style was assessed using twomethods. First, assessment was performed by comparing exam questions related tosustainability and design of concrete with previous course offerings. In addition, theproject final reports submitted by the students were reviewed by both the instructor aswell as industry professionals to assess the quality of the reports.
Kardos, A. J., & Durham, S. A., & Marshall, W. E. (2012, June), “Green Projects to Pavements”: A Project-based Learning Approach to Introducing Sustainability to Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/20774
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