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Possibilities for Technology-enhanced Active Learning of Structural Steel Design

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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

Course Structuring for Effective Student Engagement

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Ryan L. Solonsky P.E. Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Ryan Solnosky is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Architectural Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University at University Park. Dr. Solnosky started at Penn State in July of 2013 and has taught courses for Architectural Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Pre-Major Freshman in Engineering. He received his integrated Professional Bachelor of Architectural Engineering/Master of Architectural Engineering (BAE/MAE) degrees in architectural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, in 2009, and his Ph.D. in architectural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA in 2013. Dr. Solnosky is also a licensed Professional Engineer in PA. His research interests include: integrated structural design methodologies and processes; Innovative methods for enhancing engineering education; and high performing wall enclosures. These three areas look towards the next generation of building engineering, including how systems are selected, configured and designed.

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Students entering college settings are: increasingly computer literate, users of digital technologies, visually driven, and have been exposed to active learning styles in high schools. Notions of technology, visual learners, and engaging environments are directly and indirectly shaping how we are expected to teach. When students are asked their preferences in classroom learning, the author has noticed that responses vary with preferences for PowerPoint slides, chalkboard notes, projects, flipped classrooms and utilization of computer software. Based on these common and upcoming learning mechanisms, the author is experimenting with implementing different techniques in a structural steel design class offered to undergraduates. This course is a 4th year senior-level steel design type class that educates Architectural Engineering students specifically about the fundamentals and practicality of designing steel structures for gravity loading according to AISC.

The test bed for this study looks into various techniques based on segmenting topics into different styles for teaching evaluation. The varied educational styles tested included: flipped classrooms with light board videos, real project discussions / decompositions with solstice pods displays, enhanced white boards with projected digital images, mini-team design charrettes on smartboards, and traditional chalk lecturing as a baseline. These techniques are being explored to deepen student comprehension of why and how building structural steel systems are the way they are. It was hypothesized that by developing active strategies coupled with technology will better that engage and heighten student-learning outcomes over more traditional methods. To evaluate the effectiveness of these methods, descriptive and statistical methods will be employed through pre-and post-surveys and interviews along with grade performance correlation.

Solonsky, R. L. (2018, June), Possibilities for Technology-enhanced Active Learning of Structural Steel Design Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30878

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