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Online Modules for Wood Design Courses through NEEShub

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

The Designer of 2020: Innovations in Teaching Design

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1007.1 - 25.1007.14



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Paper Authors


Mikhail Gershfeld S.E. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E., is a Professional Practice Professor, Chair, Wood Education Institute (WEI), Civil Engineering Department
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif.

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Charles B. Chadwell California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

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Charles B. Chadwell is an Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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Sean P. Brophy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Online modules for Wood Design courses through NEEShubWood is one of the oldest, environmentally sustainable construction materials. Currently, over90% of all residential and approximately 15% of commercial and industrial buildings in theUnited States are built using wood. These modern engineered wood systems require specializeddesign and materials specification knowledge. Nonetheless, a significant number of CivilEngineering programs do not offer a course on Wood Design, offer it as a part of another course,or, in some cases, offer it biannually, tri-annually, or sporadically. The report [Barnes 2007]presented at the 2007 NCSEA Annual Conference on US higher education institutions that offerdegrees in Civil Engineering demonstrated this educational deficiency. This was furthersupported by an informal survey conducted by the Wood Product Council in 2007 as well asnumerous comments by the participants of the 2008 Structures Congress “Wood EngineeringChallanges in a New Milenium: Research Needs” Pre-Congress Workshop. These reports,surveys, and workshops re-affirm concernes voiced by wood industry leadership regarding thelack of wood design education in Civil Engineering programs.While there are a number of reasons that have led to this trend in wood education, the mostnotable is the relatively limited wood design related US research opportunities. This, over time,has produced a scarcity of University Faculty interested and proficient in Wood Engineering.Consequently, the US lags far behind Canada and Europe in wood design innovation andavailability of human resources to effectively teach the subject.This paper will introduce an ongoing project to develop online materials that would bolster thediminishing number of universities consistently offering Timber Design. In February of 2008,the Wood Products Council, a cooperative venture of the major wood associations in NorthAmerica in partnership with research organizations and government agencies, launchedWoodWorks initiative designed to support and promote the use of wood in non-residentialbuilding applications. One component of that effort is to improve wood education. TheWoodWorks provided a seed investment grant to fund development of online educationalmoduels by Wood Education Institute (WEI) founded in 2009 as part of this effort.Under the umbrella of the WEI, a pilot program at two universities has been launched that usesthe courseware developed by faculty members from various universities as acting contributingmembers of the WEI. The courseware is a mix of online streaming content of 30-50 minteaching modules, online assessments, packaged lecture notes, and a suggested 10 week TimberDesign course format. This pilot program has been launched using Moodle, an open-sourcelearning management system, housed and maintained by NEEShub, Network of EarthquakeEngineering Sites research and educational information dissemination hub. The primaryobjective of this project is to provide teaching resources to universities interested in offeringwood design in their curriculum that either do not have the resources or the faculty with theexpertise to develop the course content. This paper outlines the WEI framework, details of thepilot program, the pedagogy of the packaged curriculum with the available online streamingteaching modules, and student assessment of the pilot program.

Gershfeld, M., & Chadwell, C. B., & Brophy, S. P. (2012, June), Online Modules for Wood Design Courses through NEEShub Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21764

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