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Java Applets For Structural Analysis

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.415.1 - 5.415.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Schottler

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Kamal B. Rojiani

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

Session 1315

Java Applets for Structural Analysis

Kamal B. Rojiani and Robert Schottler Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia


A series of Web-based instructional units for the first undergraduate course in structural engineering are developed. The instructional units are centered on computer programs written in the object-oriented Java programming language. Each instructional unit consists of a series of HTML documents containing Java applets. The HTML pages have a standard format and contain the following elements: statement of educational goals, background and theory, description of applet, series of examples and exercises, suggestions for further study and exploration, supplemental information to assist other instructors, and an online evaluation form for suggestions and comments. The instructional units and the embedded applets are available over the Internet to students and instructors throughout the nation. Examples of the applets developed include: determinacy and indeterminacy of trusses and frames; shear, moment and deflection analysis of beams; analysis of determinate and indeterminate trusses; analysis of determinate and indeterminate frames; and influence lines for continuous beams. The advantages of using Java and the World Wide Web for teaching are discussed and examples of the use of these applets in the classroom are presented.


The development of the World Wide Web (WWW) has led to unprecedented growth in access to information over the Internet. In the last five years, educational institutions have realized the importance of the web as a tool for education. The web offers many advantages including ease of use, quick access and low cost. The web-based learning environment is available without the limitations of time or location. Information on the web can be accessed from any computer platform since it is hardware and software independent. Another important advantage is global accessibility. Web documents are accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. The web-based learning environment is also flexible in that it allows students to control their own learning pace. Another advantage of the web-based learning environment is that there are no distribution problems. Students no longer need to get software through CD-ROMs or floppy disks. Also, since there is only one copy of the learning module on the web server it can easily be updated.

A major disadvantage of the web was that most documents on the web used HyperText Markup Language (HTML). HTML documents consist mainly of text with some graphics and are effective for one-way distribution of information but are static and insufficient for providing an interactive

Schottler, R., & Rojiani, K. B. (2000, June), Java Applets For Structural Analysis Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8522

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