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Technology In The Civil Engineering Classroom: Introduction And Assessment

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.439.1 - 1.439.5



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Paper Authors

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Nelson C. Baker

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Paul S. Chinowsky

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

Session 3515

Technology in the Civil Engineering Classroom: Introduction and Assessment

Nelson C. Baker1, Paul S. Chinowsky2 Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract The introduction of innovative technologies into the civil engineering classroom is providing unprecedented opportunities to examine traditional educational methodologies. The development of video, multimedia, and advanced computer modelling technologies provides educators with the tools to diverge from the static arena of textbooks and enter the arena of interactive, hands-on education. However, the rapid evolution of these tools presents a potentially damaging impact to a civil engineering student's education. The rapid adoption of technology by educators as teaching aids is preempting a systematic assessment of the educational validity of these technologies within the civil engineering curriculum. In response to this trend toward rapid technology integration, this paper describes efforts currently underway at Georgia Tech to introduce and assess the impact of technology within a civil engineering classroom environment.

1.0 Introduction In the traditional classroom experience, civil engineering students are exposed to topics ranging from water resources management to transportation to structural mechanics and design to construction over the course of an academic career. Students obtain in-depth knowledge and training in subjects such as construction scheduling and traffic management through a curriculum emphasizing specialization and narrow fields of expertise. In the traditional classroom setting, examples are often used to convey specific elements of a project such as a difficult structural problem or a complex cost estimating situation. However, these blackboard-based examples often have a distinctively artificial feeling. Specifically, blackboard-based examples fail to provide students with a project context in which to understand the information being provided. Furthermore, the examples tend to be oversimplified and thus fail to highlight the numerous interdisciplinary forces which influence an actual problem solution [1]. One potential solution to this fundamental educational issue being put forth by many engineering educators is the use of multimedia technologies in the classroom [2].

The rapid expansion of multimedia technology including CD-ROM, World Wide Web, and video technologies is providing engineering educators with unprecedented opportunities to break away from the traditional blackboard-based education paradigm. However, this rapid introduction of technology into the classroom is not being accompanied by an equivalent level of concern for the impact of these technologies on the educational experience of the students. Rather, the technology is being introduced with assumptions

1 Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 790 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0355, Internet Address: 2 Assistant Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 790 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0355, Internet Addres:

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Baker, N. C., & Chinowsky, P. S. (1996, June), Technology In The Civil Engineering Classroom: Introduction And Assessment Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6344

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