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Implementing PBL in a Concrete Construction Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Pedagogical Approaches in Construction Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.707.1 - 24.707.14



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Paper Authors


Jiong Hu Texas State University, San Marcos

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Dr. Jiong Hu an assistant professor in the concrete industry management (CIM) program at Texas State University, San Marcos. Dr. Hu received his B.S. (1996) and M.S. (1999) from Southeast University, China, and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2005. He is teaching construction- and concrete-related courses, including Construction Materials and Processes, Concrete Construction Methods, Management of Concrete Products and Concrete Problems: Diagnosis, Prevention, and Dispute Resolution. His research interests include concrete materials and construction, engineering and technology education, and problem-based learning.

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Araceli Martinez Ortiz Texas State University, San Marcos

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Araceli Martinez Ortiz, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of engineering education in the College of Education at Texas State University. She teaches graduate courses in the department of curriculum and instruction, and collaborates on various state and national STEM teacher professional development programs and pre-engineering student outreach programs.

Araceli holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an M.S. degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University. After a career in engineering working with companies such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Microsoft, she pursued a master’s degree in education from Michigan State University. Later, Araceli completed a Ph.D. in engineering education from Tufts University. She is also experienced in education policy and prior to joining academia, she was the director of educator preparation, focusing on STEM education projects, at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

In 2013, she was named director of the Texas State University LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research. Her research interests include studying the role of engineering as a curricular context and problem-based learning as an instructional strategy to facilitate students’ mathematics and science learning. She works with teachers and students from traditionally underserved populations and seeks to understand challenges and solutions to support student academic readiness for college and career success.


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Vedaraman Sriraman Texas State University, San Marcos

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Dr. Vedaraman Sriraman is a University Distinguished Professor of Engineering Technology and a faculty associate of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University. Dr. Sriraman's degrees are in mechanical and industrial engineering. His research interests are in engineering education, sustainability, and applied statistics. In the past, he has implemented several grants from the NSF and SME-EF. He has also received several teaching awards at Texas State.

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Implementing PBL in a Concrete Construction CourseThis paper presents an action-research case study detailing the evolutionary changes in theimplementation of the problem-based learning (PBL) method in an undergraduate concreteconstruction course. The case study incorporates the perspective of the course instructor asaction-researcher and the quantitative and qualitative student impact data. PBL was firstimplemented in this course in 2011 as a student centered active learning pedagogy. The firstimplementation adopted a minimalist approach owing to the issues typically associated with PBLadoption such as increased instructor effort and student resistance to a new learning paradigm.Through 2012 and 2013, the action researcher continued to adopt and increase the scope of PBLapplication. In 2013, the course moved from a summer offering to a spring offering. This changeproved to be very positive for both instructor and students alike. Most significantly, the changein schedule permitted a longer time span in which the PBL activities could be more effectivelyimplemented compared to the short, fast paced summer offering. The evolution in the adaptationof PBL pedagogy and key components for success in the implementation of PBL in theengineering and engineering technology classroom will be presented. In addition, a discussion ofthe assessment methods that also underwent an evolution in scope and detail will be presented.The paper concludes with recommendations for further research.

Hu, J., & Ortiz, A. M., & Sriraman, V. (2014, June), Implementing PBL in a Concrete Construction Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20599

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015