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Revising the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK): The Application of the Cognitive Domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy

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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

Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession and ASCE II

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Decker B. Hains Western Michigan University

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Dr. Decker B. Hains is a Master Faculty Specialist in the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at Western Michigan University. He is a retired US Army Officer serving 22 years on active duty with the US Army Corps of Engineers and taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from USMA in 1994, Master of Science degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage in Arctic Engineering in 1998 and Missouri University Science & Technology in Civil Engineering in 1999, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 2004. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan.

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Kenneth J. Fridley University of Alabama

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Kenneth J. Fridley is the Senior Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama. Prior to his current appointment, Fridley served as Professor and Head of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama. Dr. Fridley has been recognized as a dedicated educator throughout his career and has received several awards for his teaching efforts, including the ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Leadership Award in 2010. At the University of Alabama, Fridley has led efforts to establish several new programs including new undergraduate degree programs in construction engineering, architectural engineering and environmental engineering, a departmental Scholars program allowing highly qualified students an accelerated program to earn their MSCE in addition to their BS degree, the interdisciplinary "Cube" promoting innovation in engineering, and the cross-disciplinary MSCE/MBA and MSCE/JD dual-degree programs.

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Leslie Nolen CAE American Society of Civil Engineers

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Leslie Nolen, CAE, serves as director, educational activities for the American Society of Civil Engineers. She brings over 20 years of association management experience to her work with ASCE's Committee on Education on issues of importance to the undergraduate and graduate level education of civil engineers.

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Brock E. Barry P.E. United States Military Academy

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Dr. Brock E. Barry, P.E. is an Associate Professor and Mechanics Group Director in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. Dr. Barry holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree from University of Colorado at Boulder, and a PhD from Purdue University. Prior to pursuing a career in academics, Dr. Barry spent 10-years as a senior geotechnical engineer and project manager on projects throughout the United States. He is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states. Dr. Barry’s areas of research include assessment of professional ethics, teaching and learning in engineering education, nonverbal communication in the classroom, and learning through historical engineering accomplishments. He has authored and co-authored a significant number of journal articles and book chapters on these topics.

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In October, 2016, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) launched the Body of Knowledge 3 Task Committee (BOK3TC), and in 2017 an update on the task committee’s work was reported at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Columbus, OH. That presentation and paper provided a summary of the findings of the committee following critical reviews of published literature and an initial survey of constituents. Based on these findings, the BOK3TC determined that a Third Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK3) was justified and warranted, and outlined a series of next steps to develop the BOK3.

Part of the process for BOK3 included developing revised rubrics for the outcomes and this involved revisiting the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This paper discusses the deliberate effort of the committee to develop more clear and more concise cognitive domain outcome statements that better reflect the levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy with the appropriate verbs at each level. Another major consideration for the committee was to be less prescriptive in the outcome statements.

The committee first debated which educational taxonomy to use and considered the original Bloom’s Taxonomy, the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, and at least one other variation of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The committee concluded that the original Bloom’s Taxonomy was the most appropriate for BOK3 and discussion on this selection process will be presented.

When critically reviewing the BOK2, the committee concluded that some of the outcome statements only loosely followed definitions for the cognitive domain levels and that several active verbs were used at two different levels which possibly created some confusion in communicating those outcomes. The committee felt there was a great opportunity to improve the application. The definitions of each level of Bloom’s taxonomy and the definitions for all of the verbs, as well as insights and the rationale for the selection of the various verbs will be discussed.

COORDINATING NOTE: This draft paper is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the CE Division of ASEE in 2018. It should be considered for inclusion in the session “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that Tom Lenox is organizing.

Hains, D. B., & Fridley, K. J., & Nolen, L., & Barry, B. E. (2018, June), Revising the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK): The Application of the Cognitive Domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30939

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