June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Community Engagement Division
23.1010.1 - 23.1010.19
Public Works as Vehicles for Engineering Education and OutreachAmerica is built on small and large feats of public works engineering that, although often takenfor granted, affect almost every aspect of our daily lives. So how can we celebrate these marvelsof utilitarian infrastructure and use them to teach public audiences about the engineeringprinciples, materials, and human innovations that make them possible? This case study willshare how one project addressed these questions by leveraging informal learning strategies,multi-agency collaborations, and new media technologies to explain the history and engineeringof one of the world’s most recognizable public work sites: the Golden Gate Bridge.This paper will first discuss the nature of public works projects in general as visible examples ofengineering for public benefit and chronicle the development and installation of outdoor exhibitsdesigned to explain factors (historical, engineering, and environmental) that influenced theGolden Gate Bridge’s design and construction. The exhibit includes photographs, text panels,interactive components, and Quick Response (QR) codes linked to additional web-content andlanguage translations - all of which provide on-site visitors, as well as online and school-basedaudiences, the freedom to direct their own learning. The paper will also share findings from asmall international conference that brought pioneers of this field from around the globe togetherto discuss other iconic public works projects and their experiences leveraging these sites forpublic education and a professional development course for public works professionals designedto increase professional awareness and elevate the outreach capacity of other sites. Finally,research and evaluation data collected throughout the project from university studentparticipants, public works professionals, and public audiences, will provide a broader view of theproject’s impact, lessons learned, and illustrate the inherent potential these projects offer asvehicles for engineering education and broad public engagement.
Weiss, S., & Heil, D. R., & Anagnos, T. (2013, June), Public Works Projects as Vehicles for Engineering Education and Outreach Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22395
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