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Internet Based Distributed Collaborative Environment For Engineering Education And Design

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.647.1 - 6.647.14

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Paper Authors

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Qiuli Sun

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Kurt Gramoll

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

Session 2468

Internet-based Distributed Collaborative Environment for Engineering Education and Design

Qiuli Sun, Kurt Gramoll Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering The University of Oklahoma


This paper proposes a Virtual City framework to investigate Internet-based distributed collaborative environment for engineering education and design. This framework includes a 3D virtual world, an online database, multiple multimedia modules, and a distributed collaborative geometric modeling module. An important part of this 3D virtual world is that all structures are viewable over the Internet. These structures are created and deposited into the virtual world using Internet-based multimedia modules. The multimedia modules are tied together through the 3D virtual world since each multimedia module covers one specific engineering topic in the world, such as traffic engineering, steel structure, surveying, soil, consolidation, and structural analysis. An online database is utilized to manage changeable information such as user account information and design information. The reason to choose an online database instead of normal text files is that it is more efficient to save, update, and delete data.

The distributed collaborative geometric modeling module can be used to design simple structures and deposit them into the 3D virtual world. Employing the geometric modeling module, users in the same group can work on the same geometric object at different locations. Real-time information sharing and real-time manipulation of the same design object are implemented. Real-time text-based chat room is also integrated to support communication between group members. These features are the key requirements of distributed collaborative concept. Interactivity, 3D visualization, encouragement of teamwork are emphasized in the Virtual City. Multiple Internet-based technologies are used in the development of the Virtual City framework. These technologies include Java, Java 3D, VRML, Director Shockwave, Perl, ASP, SQL, JavaScript, SQL database server. These technologies are chosen because they are well defined, inexpensive and used extensively for Internet-based applications.


The continuously expanding use of the Internet has provided tremendous possibilities for engineering education, engineering design and analysis. The use of the Internet has opened a door to adopting new ways to teach engineering topics. For example, Internet-based simulations, online collaborative learning, and virtual worlds are three applications among many possibilities. Besides engineering education, the ubiquity of the Internet has made distributed collaborative engineering design and analysis possible. Geographically dispersed engineers can complete design and analysis tasks jointly through the Internet. This paper presents a Virtual City

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Sun, Q., & Gramoll, K. (2001, June), Internet Based Distributed Collaborative Environment For Engineering Education And Design Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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