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Learning Building Sciences in Virtual Environments

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Architectural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Debra Lee Davis Florida International University

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Dr. Debra Davis is an Instructor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University. Her research interests emphasize interdisciplinary topics including understanding and improving: (1) Computer Science education, including increasing participation of women; (2) educational applications and techniques for online STEM learning; and (3) complex human-machine interactions. She has a Ph.D. and M.A., in Cognitive Developmental Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. in Computer Science from FIU.

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Shahin Vassigh Florida International University

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Shahin Vassigh is a Professor and Co-Director of Structural and Environmental Technologies Laboratory in the School of Architecture at Florida International University where she teaches building technology, structures, and design studios. Vassigh’s research is focused on improving building technology and sustainable building design education by developing alternative teaching pedagogies.
She is the recipient of several federal grants for improving structures and technology education for developing alternative teaching methods and learning environments that utilize the state of the art computing technologies. Vassigh has considerable professional experience. She has worked at various consulting engineering firms on projects that ranged from bridge design and analysis, to large-scale building design and construction. Vassigh has a Master’s of Architecture, a Master’s of Urban Planning and a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

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Hadi Alhaffar


Giovanna Gallardo Florida International University

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Albert John Elias IV Aberrate LLC

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The use and effectiveness of immersive environments for learning has been increasingly researched and examined. Current findings show that immersive environments such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are among the most promising mediums to support learning. In addition, the enhanced capacity of immersive technologies, simulation, data visualization, and easy-to-access geo-spatial datasets are creating new opportunities for educational interventions. Two features of these technologies, “immersion” and “interactivity”, bring new dimensions to how people learn individually and collaboratively. Immersion can be designed to facilitate experiential learning, where knowledge is produced through experience. Interacting with a responsive environment where the users can navigate and modify the learning context is another capability that can be developed for educational proposes. The following paper will present the progress on an ongoing research project designed to leverage the capacity of immersive environments in support of interdisciplinary collaboration. The project “Strategies for Learning: Augmented Reality and Collaborative Problem-Solving for Building Sciences” integrates AR and VR with Building Information Modeling (BIM), visual simulations, and interactive lessons. Building on advances in our understanding of learning processes and educational theoretical perspectives, the project has developed, implemented, and tested two immersive prototype applications called AR-Skope and VR- Skope to support collaboration among Architecture, Construction and Engineering (AEC) students. To implement the project, one course from each of the AEC disciplines was selected to participate. As a part of the interdisciplinary coursework related to building technology, the participating students were asked to visit a building structure on the University campus by utilizing the Skope applications for field investigation and learning about the building systems. Like having an interactive x-ray vision, students could use the tool to move around a building and view through the building material, looking at various components such as the façade system, structure, mechanical systems, plumbing, etc., and learn about them onsite. Upon completion of the site visits, students conducted group projects, participated in interviews and answered survey questions. The paper will describe the projects feedback mechanisms, the impact on student attitudes and analysis of results.

Davis, D. L., & Vassigh, S., & Alhaffar, H., & Gallardo, G., & Elias, A. J. (2018, June), Learning Building Sciences in Virtual Environments Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30754

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