June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.740.1 - 10.740.5
Incorporating Concrete Canoe & Steel Bridge Planning into a Construction Management Course
Brian L. Houston
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Many faculty members would agree that to promote the development of communication skills and to establish a well-rounded education, students should be involved not only in classroom instruction but also in extracurricular activities that contribute to these goals. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) annually promotes two programs that directly relate to civil engineering: the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition and the AISC/ASCE Steel Bridge Competition. The benefits of these programs are obvious to those who have participated. Involved students have an opportunity to learn many aspects of project management, from conceptual design through construction. Previous surveys at Lamar University have shown that students who participated in these competitions perceived their knowledge in several core areas to be greatly enhanced. Significant benefits were derived in the areas of Project Management and Team Building. 
Promoting student involvement in extracurricular activities is difficult at small engineering and engineering technology schools. Many factors contribute to this opposition. Engineering students tend to focus on studies first, so involvement in extracurricular activities may be viewed as a waste of time. Small schools have limited resources (both labor and funding). The small labor pool often results in excessive time commitment for those who are involved. Most of the monetary support must come from student fund-raising activities. In addition, the student body at some schools has a significant adult student component. Adult students are likely to have jobs, possibly families, and are often unable to contribute additional time outside of class. To promote and support a good program, an advisor should attempt to find ways to mitigate these factors and make involvement an easier proposition for students.
The Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competitions are well known student activities in civil engineering. Almost without exception, students who participate in these events carry away rewarding memories and reflect positively on their experiences. Another positive benefit from involvement is the ability to establish talking points during interviews with potential employers who were also involved during their college years.
“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”
Houston, B. (2005, June), Incorporating Concrete Canoe & Steel Bridge Planning Into A Construction Management Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14496
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