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Grow: A Digital Library For Geotechnical, Rock, And Water Aspects Of Civil Engineering

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Instructional Technology in CE 2

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.597.1 - 7.597.11



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Paper Authors

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John Kemeny

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 3515

GROW: A Digital Library for Geotechnical, Rock, and Water Aspects of Civil Engineering

John Kemeny, Elena Berman, Paul Bracke, Wayne Brent, Muniram Budhu, Anita Coleman, Ronan Dempsey, Jeremy Frumkin, Maliaca Oxnam, Leo Przybylski, William Rassmusan University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

1.0 Introduction

The web has become an important tool in engineering education. At the most basic level, students view course web pages containing course information and assignments. At a higher level, the web becomes a classroom-like learning environment for online courses. There are a number of current approaches being used for online course delivery. The most common approach focuses on text and graphics, much like a traditional textbook. This approach still has many educational advantages over a textbook, including the ability to use links, the ease of updating material, and instant access to the material around the world. The primary disadvantage of this approach is that it caters to a learning style much different than the traditional lecture: reading text as opposed to watching and listening. More innovative approaches include the use of streaming audio, streaming video, and animation. These approaches cater to the same learning styles of students in a traditional classroom, and can be used in conjunction with a discussion forum to promote interaction. The primary disadvantage to these approaches is the large bandwidth requirements associated with streaming video and animation. This disadvantage can be reduced by the use of streaming audio to replace streaming video and the use of vector graphics and animation (via programs such as Macromedia Flash) to replace bitmap graphics and animation 1,2.

Digital libraries have many similarities with online courses. A digital library is an online source of information about a topic or range of topics. Digital libraries contain a wide variety of media types, ranging from arrays of educational building blocks (text files, images, sound files, video clips, etc.) to complete learning modules that educate the user in a particular subject. Metadata searching is an important element of digital libraries, and useful search engines allow searches for media type, learning outcomes, audience level, rating, etc. Many if not most digital libraries depend on contributors for the building and sustainability of the information. This allows a large, ongoing source of information to be compiled, but there are difficulties controlling the type and format of the information. Like online courses, there are a variety of approaches to presenting material in digital libraries. These libraries are thus susceptible to the same deficiencies as online courses with regard to catering to different learning styles. Also, unlike an online course that is designed for a specific educational level, digital libraries are generally open to users of all ages and educational backgrounds. This presents challenges for digital library developers.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Kemeny, J. (2002, June), Grow: A Digital Library For Geotechnical, Rock, And Water Aspects Of Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11344

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