June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.808.1 - 13.808.12
Introduction of GIS into Civil Engineering Curricula Abstract
This research project developed a web-based learning system to teach students the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) within the foundational courses of a typical civil engineering program. As opposed to generating a series of GIS courses, the GIS know-how is introduced within existing courses as a module that will reinforce basic concepts taught throughout the curriculum in a comprehensive manner. Evaluation research of a proof-of- concept prototype for geotechnical course supported the efficacy of such an approach. With this prototype as a guide, modules are developed in the following five areas: environmental, geotechnical, hydrology, surveying/measurements, and transportation.
The principal objectives of this research project are: (1) To create a web-based learning system that supports student learning on how to apply GIS within the context of civil engineering, (2) To implement learning modules in existing undergraduate civil engineering courses, (3) To carry out a series of summative and formative evaluation studies (including external evaluators) with components and iterations of this learning system under development, and, (4) To disseminate the developed educational materials and learning system to other universities in order to test the ability of our results to scale and port. The GIS tool and the Civil Engineering content were selected because of the importance of these disciplines within the engineering profession and within the broad context of current U.S. infrastructure needs. The design approach introduces GIS to both the student and instructor during the learning experience. The instructor’s focus is still the subject matter in civil engineering. The design of the instructional tool consists of training in the use of GIS within the context of real Civil Engineering problem solving. The design of the learning system is firmly grounded in educational theory and research. Further, educational evaluation and research comprises a major component of this project, which extends research carried out in the proof of concept project. This includes the detailed exploration of learning and instructional design variables, utilizing multiple methodologies and measurement tools. This research, combined with our initial findings, yields a detailed understanding of how students go about using interactive software to learn to use sophisticated tools to solve complex problems. This provides important insights into basic cognitive and educational issues that underlie learning with these types of learning technologies. The expansion project is designed with a broad scope to cover several emphasis areas in civil engineering and the impact of engineering decisions to the public. Almost all civil engineering programs in the country have required courses such as the ones presented herein. The evaluation process includes peers and colleagues from at other universities for an external loop in the development of the learning system to ensure a superior quality product. Civil engineering programs nationwide will benefit from the integration of GIS into their foundational courses without adding more courses. Nationwide access benefits the engineering profession as a whole, as newly minted engineers begin their careers with a strong GIS background.
The popularity of web-based instructional tools across engineering disciplines has grown significantly in recent years[2-4] for a number of reasons. First, a much larger number of students,
Luna, R., & Hall, R., & Hilgers, M., & Bham, G., & Elgin, R., & Morris, C., & Morrison, G. (2008, June), Introduction Of Gis Into Civil Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4433
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