Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
April 7, 2017
April 7, 2017
April 8, 2017
It has been noted that not all students come to class with a clear idea of significance of the subject matter they are about to learn, it is therefore incumbent on the instructor that the students are assisted to grasps the value and importance of the subject. The quicker this is done, the quicker students will begin investing time and energy into the learning process. The Geotechnical Engineering and Laboratory course is the first introductory class in geotechnical engineering of a civil engineering curriculum and usually many students are not familiar with the principles and concepts of geotechnical engineering. Subsequently, in-order to get students to buy-in into identifying the value and importance of the subject matter at an earlier stage so as to successfully facilitate active learning, it is essential that high impact pedagogical activity be adopted and administered during the first week of class. Subsequently, the active learning strategy adopted by the author in teaching an introductory geotechnical course in a predominantly historical black institution was construction site tour. During the first week of class a construction site tour was organized, whereby the students experienced in real life the application of the principles and concepts of geotechnical engineering in the design and construction of the foundation and structural elements of the infrastructure system under construction. It is pertinent to note that nearly all geotechnical engineering concepts can be exemplified in one way or another by the design and construction of foundation and structural elements of any infrastructural system. The paper describes full details about the construction site visit and the impact on student learning during the semester. The results of the students’ report and the survey administered with a total of about 40 students offering the course (two sessions) show a strong statistical relationship between construction site experience and student learning. The students are engaged throughout the semester in discussion about the linkages between various curricular topics ( e.g soil classification, compaction, ground water, consolidation and shear strength) and the real life application experienced during the construction site tour. The paper further elaborates on how the impact has been felt in comparison to previous semesters when there was no introductory site visit. The results this semester have been dramatically different in students’ engagement and learning as students come to class adequately prepared ready to ask questions in-order to satisfy their curiosity from the field trip, working with peers in class and completing frequent assessments of learning. The paper finally recommends that this high impact pedagogy be replicated at other HBCU schools with a civil Engineering program.
Owolabi, O. A. (2017, April), The Impact of Construction Site Tour During the First Week of Class on Student Learning in an Introductory Geotechnical Engineering Class Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. https://peer.asee.org/29267
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