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Java Simulation Based Soil Mechanics Laboratory Course Studio

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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

5.416.1 - 5.416.7



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Paper Authors

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Prawit Potsawatsuk

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Mohammed Enamul Haque

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Amarneethi Vamadevan

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

Session 1426

JAVA Simulation based Soil Mechanics Laboratory Course Studio

Mohammed E. Haque, Amarneethi Vamadevan, Prawit Rotsawatsuk Western Michigan University, Michigan 49008


In the field of civil/geotechnical engineering, students conduct a variety of soil tests to fulfill undergraduate soil mechanics course requirement. There is a range of problems in soil laboratory instruction, such as, some students not getting hands on experience of conducting tests because of inadequate number of apparatus, time constraints and inability in exciting students to seriously conduct the experiments. However when these laboratory soil tests are simulated with multimedia interaction and visualization techniques, the student’ conceptual understanding of s soil mechanics is enhanced. The methodology presented in this paper is based on presenting students with simulation of laboratory soil tests, which creates an individualized, interactive and guided learning environment. The main elements of this approach are: a means of assimilating the students' interactive learning knowledge and behavior (user model), representation of the instructor’ guidance and assessment knowledge (tutor model), utilization of motivational s techniques such as multimedia, animation (visual model) and simulated laboratory test model (simulation model). As an example, the presented paper provides the learning environment to understand soil characteristics such as grain size distribution. The approach adopted in this research is that of intelligent interactive learning environment, which is developed, using Java simulation. This contains basic interrelated definitions (concepts), various graphic presentation of soil characteristics, test procedures and Java simulation of dynamic laboratory testing. Although the presented approach is being applied to understand basic soil mechanics, it employs a generic architecture, which is discipline independent and can be adapted to any other similar domain which will certainly promote and enhance students’understanding.

I. Introduction

In a world in which technology is changing rapidly, students need to be able to think creatively and solve problems and acquire higher order thinking skills. Particularly technological students are to be competitive in the years to come where faculty needs to be able to provide their students with the cognitive strategies that will enable them to think critically, make decisions, and solve problems. According to Leutner1, in traditional education, the teacher is responsible for the students' learning. Teachers typically lecture to students who take notes and then memorize and recall the material to perform well on examinations. This type of learning environment is not appropriate for engineering students who bring life skills and increased reasoning ability to the classroom. In such a situation, it may be appropriate for students to take responsibility for their own education. One method of transferring the responsibility from the teacher to the student is through guided tutoring and simulation. According to Menn's2 evaluation of the impact of different instructional media on student retention of subject matter, it was found 90% of students remember if they do the experiments themselves even if only as a simulation. In other words,

Potsawatsuk, P., & Haque, M. E., & Vamadevan, A. (2000, June), Java Simulation Based Soil Mechanics Laboratory Course Studio Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8523

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