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Improvement Of Graduate Students’ Performance In Design, Discovery, And Learning

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Methods and Techniques in Graduate Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.700.1 - 14.700.11



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Paper Authors


Robert Brooks Temple University

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Dr. Brooks is an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Director of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Temple University. He was voted the "Transportation engineer of the year" by the ASCE-Philadelphia Section. Dr.Brooks' expertise includes finite element methods, highway and runway design, innovative materials in transportation engineering. He won the Tempe University College of Engineering’s Teaching Award for the year 2008.

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Berk Ayranci Temple University

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Prof. Berk Ayranci is an instructor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. His teaching interests are in the areas of environment, building systems, and computer aided design.

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Keerthi V. Takkalapelli Temple University

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Keerthi is a graduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department.

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

Improvement of Graduate Students’ Performance in

Design, Discovery, and Learning


In this paper we describe how graduate students’ performance was improved in design, discovery, and learning. The primary objective of this study is to provide adequate learning experience for the students within the scope of the syllabus for the course. In this study, a course repeated over three years was considered. Students were directed to undertake engineering designs in specialized areas of transportation engineering, technology and management. Design topics related to these areas ranged from Flexible Pavements, Rigid Pavements, Asphalt Paving Technology and Pavement Rehabilitation, to Signalized Traffic Intersections. These topics covered not only conventional transportation systems but also intelligent transportation systems. The students’ presentations were peer-graded.

The extent of improvement in design, discovery, and learning was documented extensively by applying appropriate statistical tests. Assessment, grading formula and results are tabulated. The best papers maintained the standards for publication at appropriate local, regional or national conferences.


The weakness of the traditional lecture is well established by the regular calls from the academic world to improve the standard of teaching1-3. Several students had been complaining to the authors about the weaknesses of the traditional lecture format, including tiredness in the evening classes and lack of interest. These students had been asking the authors to replace the lecture method of teaching at least to some extent by giving them opportunities to think, reason and apply inherent and increased creative abilities. They had been expressing their interest to handle challenging situations and improve their capacity of selecting correct choices from a wide variety of options. The authors were motivated to address these weaknesses.

The motivation of the authors led to a strategy of replacing the lecture method to a considerable extent. This provided the students with more empowerment in various categories of learning such as design, discovery, innovation, and creativity4, 5.

The objective of this paper is to describe the improvement of graduate students’ performance in design, discovery and learning in a transportation technology and management course.


Brooks, R., & Ayranci, B., & Takkalapelli, K. V. (2009, June), Improvement Of Graduate Students’ Performance In Design, Discovery, And Learning Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5874

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