June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
This paper explores the use of a comprehensive design, management and construction project as a pedagogical teaching instrument for second year engineering students, simulating the challenges and responsibilities they will face in the professional engineering consulting discipline. The primary objective was to educate students in an interactive manner spanning diverse fundamental skillsets by having them analyse a problem, evaluate various design solutions and apply their knowledge in a collaborative group effort.
Students were randomly arranged into groups of four with the task of designing, constructing, and testing a bridge out of wood and plastic stir sticks subject to material, dimensional and cost limitations. Students were required to exercise and integrate their knowledge of four compulsory second year courses to arrive at an optimal design solution. First proposed by the University of Cincinnati, this amalgamation of courses specializing in various disciplines, taught concurrently within a specified time duration is termed horizontal integration. This differs from vertical integration where knowledge in a specific discipline is accumulated through various stages of increasing difficulty over the course of several time intervals.
The four courses pertinent to this project include: Solid Mechanics, Probability and Statistics, Structure and Properties of Materials and new to this year; Transportation Principles and Applications. The Civil Engineering department at the X X developed a new curriculum whereby the Transportation Principles and Applications course replaced Economics and Life Cycle Analysis, which is now taught during a later academic semester. In response to this curriculum change, the project was modified from last year by decreasing the emphasis on the economic and lifecycle analysis of the project, more heavily focusing on transportation design aspects. This was achieved by changing the proposed bridge location from a crossing with horizontal approaches and a well defined clear span distance to a flood plain scenario with sloping approaches on either side. Students are challenged with the task of arriving at an optimal design solution considering the balance between a variable bridge clear span distance and the consequent volume of excavated material required for their selected clear span while respecting roadway design regulations.
The project was designed such that students were allowed to express their creativity, making their own design decisions with limited restrictions as well as gain experience with commercial structural analysis software. Moreover, the project had the intent of demonstrating the value of teamwork, subjecting students to an environment where they were required to work with others. Feedback was assimilated from previous year's students to further improve the effectiveness of this pedagogical teaching instrument. Students from the previous year indicated difficulties working with peers with conflicting personalities. To mitigate this issue, a teamwork building workshop was established this year, teaching students how to recognize and respect differences in personality traits and how to capitalize on the inherit benefits of each. Further, a preliminary design report submission was incorporated this year to allow for intermittent feedback, allowing for support to students where the instructor felt necessary.
Balkos, K. D., & Dow, B., & Shams, S., & Al-Hammoud, R., & Emelko, M. B., & Walbridge, S., & Bachmann, C. (2017, June), Pedagogical Skill Development Through the Horizontal Integration of a Second-Year Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28734
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