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Providing Safe Housing Through Independent Study

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1042.1 - 10.1042.7



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Paper Authors

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Lisa Wipplinger

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

Providing Safe Housing through Independent Study

Dr. Lisa A. Wipplinger United States Military Academy

Abstract The Civil and Mechanical Engineering department at the United States Military Academy has teamed up with The Center for Earthquake Resistant Housing to work toward affordable, easily constructed earthquake resistant housing in developing countries. A series of independent study projects involving design, analysis and research are being developed as courses for small teams of cadets. Each course will focus on a specific piece of the large project, helping to move it along more quickly. These projects will provide opportunities for life-long learning and community service, while allowing undergraduates to take on a complex, real-world problem with social, political and economical aspects. The goals of the first project will be discussed and recommendations for achieving the most from this type of course format will be provided.

Introduction Research has shown that experiential project-based learning provides context for material learned in the classroom and engages students in their own learning, resulting in enhanced understanding of technical material and its application. Allowing students to work together in teams and the opportunity to work closely with faculty and other professionals has also been shown to improve learning and the desire to continue learning. 1,2,3,4,5 With this in mind, the Civil and Mechanical Engineering department at the United States Military Academy (USMA) has developed a program of individual study projects that senior cadets may select as elective courses. The Civil Engineering (CE) independent study project provides an opportunity for cadets to work in small teams to tackle real-world engineering challenges. Cadets work with one or more faculty members who guide them through the project, but the cadets work independently and are responsible for the project. The independent study provides opportunities for cadets to apply what they have learned in the classroom, do self-directed learning, do research, and begin to see how social, political and economic issues tie into engineering problems. 6,7

“The CE independent study course objectives are to • Apply the engineering thought process to develop a creative solution to an open-ended engineering problem. • Produce a high-quality design/analysis/research report. • Present a high-quality oral briefing • Prepare for life-long intellectual growth, through self-directed learning” 6

The skills utilized in the Safe Housing project also tie in well with several skills outlined in ABET criterion 3: • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society of Engineering Education

Wipplinger, L. (2005, June), Providing Safe Housing Through Independent Study Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14544

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