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Transforming a Civil Engineering Curriculum through GIS Integration

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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

Going Viral: Effective Instructional Techniques in an Online Environment

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1373.1 - 25.1373.18



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Paper Authors


Stephanie S. Ivey University of Memphis

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Stephanie S. Ivey is an Associate Professor with the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Memphis. Her primary research interests are in transportation policy, freight modeling, transportation workforce development, and undergraduate STEM education. She is currently conducting funded research regarding use of add-on participant data from the National Household Travel Survey, development of a new model to improve accuracy and efficiency of the TDOT Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Program, and is PI/co-PI on more than $2 million in funding for undergraduate STEM education research from the National Science Foundation. She has been a program director for the Herff College of Engineering’s targeted outreach program, Girls Experiencing Engineering, since its inception in 2004, and also serves as a Program Director for the Transportation Engineering Careers (TREC) program for high school students. Ivey is the Faculty Advisor for the student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers at the university, is part of the ITE Transportation Education Council, and serves as the Past President for the West Tennessee Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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Rachel Margaret Best University of Memphis

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Rachel M. Best holds a B.Sc. (1994) in social psychology and sociology from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, M.Sc. (1995) in research methods in psychology from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and a Ph.D. (2003) in psychology from South Bank University, London. She is currently Project Manager for the MemphiSTEP project at the University of Memphis,a project funded by the National Science Foundation, designed to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates. She is also a Co-PI on the Transforming a Civil Engineering curriculum through Geographic Information Systems Project at the University of Memphis, also funded by the National Science Foundation. Best has an extensive research background and served as lead researcher on a range of psychology-based and educational projects. She has expertise in instrument design, data assessment techniques, and statistical analysis. She has also published a multitude of papers related to the projects on which she has worked.

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Charles V. Camp University of Memphis

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Charles V. Camp has been involved with developing and teaching the foundation sequence in the Department of Civil Engineering for the past 15 years. The foundation sequence provides active learning environment in which students develop knowledge and understanding of civil engineering through team-based design projects focusing on application, analysis, and evaluation of design alternatives. Camp received the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s “Excellence in Teaching Award” in 2002 and Herff College of Engineering “Teacher of Year” Award in 2000. Camp is a co-author of several Best Research Paper awards for innovative engineering education, most recently the 2008 Best Conference Paper as ASEE Southeastern Section. In addition, Camp is active in research and has more than 50 journal and conference paper publications and has been involved in numerous funded research projects over the last 20 years.

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Paul J. Palazolo University of Memphis

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Transforming a Civil Engineering Curriculum Through GIS IntegrationAbstractThe role of civil engineers is evolving beyond that of a technical professional with recognitionthat civil engineers play a critical role in the planning, management, and development of theinfrastructure of a community. One critical element of Civil Engineering is the ability tovisualize the impact that design decisions will have not only on the technical aspects but also oneconomic, social, environmental, and political consequences. Geographic information systems(GIS) enable users to visualize some of these factors and as such are becoming a critical tool forthe Civil Engineering design professional.In recognition of this trend, University of X Civil Engineering faculty are undertaking acollaborative three-year curriculum transformation project to integrate a GIS-enabled designapproach across a sequence of required Civil Engineering courses at the 1000, 2000, and 3000course levels. The curriculum will be both sequenced and scaffolded across six courses to ensurea clear path for student skills progression in terms of technical competency, data synthesis andanalysis, and problem solving. Our goal is to develop a series of integrated, progressivelychallenging, and interdependent curricular materials and activities that will improve the ability ofCivil Engineering students to analyze engineering problems in multiple contexts using a GISplatform.We expect that students will demonstrate fluency with one or more of the following skills uponcompletion of each Civil Engineering course targeted for this project: 1. Demonstrate technical competency in fundamental GIS skills utilizing existing GIS data to examine Civil Engineering problems. 2. Analyze Civil Engineering problems by generating GIS data and integrating it with existing data while demonstrating comprehension of multiple decision factors. 3. Synthesize data acquisition and analysis within the Civil Engineering design process to develop solutions considering multiple contexts (i.e. economic, social, environmental, and political factors).In addition to these expected, course-related cognitive outcomes, this project is expected toimprove student attitudes concerning their course-based learning experiences by activelyengaging them in design-based learning processes.This paper will document project rationale along with activities, findings, and lessons learnedfrom our first project year. The major activities to date include the refinement of a set of skilldevelopment objectives for the project by year of implementation, development of a formalevaluation plan, development and implementation of curriculum for freshman courses targetedby the project, development of a web resource for project transferability, and assessment of Year1 data.

Ivey, S. S., & Best, R. M., & Camp, C. V., & Palazolo, P. J. (2012, June), Transforming a Civil Engineering Curriculum through GIS Integration Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22130

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