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The Role of Exposure to Failure Case Studies on Students’ Technical and Professional Growth: A Mixed Method Approach

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1339.1 - 25.1339.14



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Paper Authors

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Joshua Gisemba Bagaka's Cleveland State University


Norb Delatte Cleveland State University Orcid 16x16

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Norbert J. Delatte, Jr., P.E., F.ACI, F.ASCE, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cleveland State University. He received his B.S. in civil engineering from The Citadel in 1984, a master's degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from The University of Texas, Austin in 1996.

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Paul A. Bosela P.E. Cleveland State University

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The role of exposure to failure case studies on students’ technical and professional growth: A mixed method approachA number of studies have assessed the value of including failure case studies in the civilengineering curriculums. It has been argued that failure case studies should be integrated into theengineering curriculum, early enough in order for young professionals to connect with theproblems encountered by engineers and perhaps trigger interest, excitement, and relevance of theprofession. In other works, exposing students to factors that result to failure and disaster canhelp them learn how to create designs while minimizing the probability of failure. While thevalue of exposure to failure case studies to students is well documented, their relative benefits ondifferent aspects of the student (professional, technical, ethics, etc.) is not well documented. Thepurpose of the study is to assess the impact of including case studies in civil engineering andengineering mechanics courses on students’ technical and professional development. Existingand new failure case studies are being included in a number of undergraduate courses offeredacross a number of semesters in a number of participating universities. Each semester,participating students respond to a survey designed to assess the extent to which failure casestudies in the curriculums contribute to students’ knowledge, abilities, and interests in the course.A mixed-method of data analysis using both quantitative and qualitative approach is used todetermine the extent to which usage of case studies can impact different aspects of studentgrowth. Factors analysis with VARMAX rotation with Crombach Alpha reliability will be usedto identify aspects of students’ growth. Content analysis is also used to identify different themesfrom the focus group data.Preliminary Analysis:Based on about 300 students’ responses from four universities, two factors (dimensions) ofstudents growth, namely technical and professional development have been identified with AlphaReliability of 0.82 and 0.75 respectively. With additional data expected in fall 2011 and spring2012, further analysis will be undertaken to determine the extent to which case studies in civilengineering and engineering mechanics courses can impact students’ technical and professionaldevelopment.

Bagaka's, J. G., & Delatte, N., & Bosela, P. A. (2012, June), The Role of Exposure to Failure Case Studies on Students’ Technical and Professional Growth: A Mixed Method Approach Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22096

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