June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Title: Rethinking Computer-Aided Design in the Civil Engineering Curriculum: Impact and Lessons Learned
In response to the removal of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) instruction from the First Year Engineering Program at a large Southwestern University, and at the urging of the department Industrial Advisory Committee, a visualization course comprised of CAD and Building Information Modeling (BIM) was developed and instituted in the Department of Civil Engineering beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year. The CAD component in the prior college-wide course was a combination of mechanical parametric modeling and two-dimensional AutoCAD topics, neither of which satisfied all departmental needs, with some departments (ex. Electrical Engineering) completely opting out of requiring it. The newly developed course is specifically designed to cater to the needs of civil engineers, emphasizing topics that are most relevant to the civil engineering profession. The course has undergone continuous modification in an effort to respond to industry and follow-on course requirements, but has historically included training in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Revit, and various visualization and projection techniques. Desired outcomes include increased CAD skills needed in follow-on courses, increased competitiveness for internships, and expertise with industry-standard CAD tools so that newly minted engineers are immediately productive.
In order to facilitate the incorporation of these topics in other courses in the curriculum, guest lectures, class project support, open office hours, and instructor assistance were provided so that CAD and BIM are not seen as compartmentalized topics, but tools which can be readily used to solve various civil engineering design problems.
This sophomore-level course, mandatory in all specialization tracks, provides a unique foundation to assist in the attainment of visualization and design skills needed further in the curriculum and also in industry. Specific course topics include two-dimensional and three-dimensional projection methods, linking files, data extraction, topography and catchments, virtual surfaces, earthwork and grading, surveying and parcels, corridors and intersections, pipe networks, rendering, and animations. Preliminary results reflect that the course has been successful in student competitiveness and preparation for industry and that student visualization skills have improved, validated by pre- and post-course completion of the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test (object rotation) and the DAT for PCA Space Relations Test (3D object from 2D pattern). This paper discusses specific steps completed for implementation of this ambit, problems encountered and remedied, lessons learned in this process, and future plans to improve the course.
Otey, J. M., & D. Camba, J., & Danney, N. (2019, June), Rethinking Computer-Aided Design in the Civil Engineering Curriculum: Impact and Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33244
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