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Ontologies And Web Semantics For Improvement Of Curriculum In Civil Engineering

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Use of Technology to Provide Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

13.951.1 - 13.951.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3868

Download Count

46

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Paper Authors

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Jean-Pierre Bardet University of Southern California

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Jean-Pierre Bardet is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.

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Dennis McLeod University of Southern California

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Dennis McLeod is currently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Semantic Information Representation Laboratory at USC. He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Dr. McLeod has published widely in the areas of data and knowledge base systems, federated databases, database models and design, and ontologies. His current research focuses on dynamic ontologies, user-customized information access, database semantic heterogeneity resolution and interoperation; personalized information management environments via cooperative immersipresence; information management environments for geoscience and homeland security information, crisis management decision support systems, and privacy and trust in information systems.

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Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Gisele Ragusa is Associate Professor of Clinical Education, and Director of Undergraduate and Teacher Education Programs at the Rossier School of Education of the University of Southern California. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Her research interests and areas of expertise include: teacher education and retention, literacy education, teacher education supervision, multimedia literacy, early childhood special education, deaf education, as well as bilingual elementary teacher education.

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Nazila Mokarram University of Southern California

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Nazila Mokarram is a Ph.D Student in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Southern California

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

Ontologies and Web-Semantics for Improvement of Curriculum in Civil Engineering

Abstract

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recommended that engineering education becomes more responsive to continual changes in society. We propose to address these challenges of improving engineering education through the application of ontology and web semantics. These fields of information technology allow computers to interpret the vast body of knowledge dispersed throughout the web. The long term objective of our research is to develop an ontological approach for improving curriculum in civil engineering as well as other fields of engineering. In the future, we envision that the curriculum information on university websites will be interpreted by computers through ontological tools for the ultimate benefits of students, educators and engineers. This paper reviews the background and premises of our research and summarizes some preliminary results about the application of ontological concepts for describing, analyzing and improving undergraduate programs in civil engineering. Future work will enhance curriculum using ontological tools using best-practice educational evaluation and accounting for NAE and ASCE recommendations.

Introduction

This paper reports on preliminary results of a research that aims at improving engineering education through the application of ontologies and web information semantics. These fields of information technology aims at interpreting the vast body of knowledge dispersed throughout the web. Currently, the information on engineering curriculum web sites is heterogeneously organized with different terminologies. Presently when users want to request information from web sites, they issue a search using a word-based search engine (e.g., Google or Yahoo). The essential problem here is that searches are word-based, and the information is not clearly meaningful on the web sites. This is where ontologies effectively and practically describe information on web sites using a meaning-based as opposed to word-based approach. The objective of our research is to support the understanding and querying of the contents, relationships, and practices in engineering education, and to develop analysis, advisement and student performance assessment tools that facilitate the improvement of engineering education, and explore alternative delivery and content packaging strategies. Following the introduction, the first section reviews the background about engineering education; the second section defines the concepts of ontology and reviews ontological examples; and the last section presents some preliminary results.

Background

In two recent reports1, 2 on engineering education, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) raised the following question about the future of engineering: “What will or should engineering education be like today, or in the near future, to prepare the next generation of students for effective engagement in the engineering profession of 2020?” NAE recommends that research be

Bardet, J., & McLeod, D., & Ragusa, G., & Mokarram, N. (2008, June), Ontologies And Web Semantics For Improvement Of Curriculum In Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3868

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