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Use Of Personal Computers To Enhance The Geotechnical Engineering Education

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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

1.499.1 - 1.499.4

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Paper Authors

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Ph.D., M. Zoghi

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

.— - . . Session 3215 .



The integration of personal computers in teaching the geotechnical engineering courses including the soil mechanics and foundation design, as well as soil mechanics laboratory will be described herein. In addition, the potential use of microcomputers in undergraduate and graduate special projects as part of independent studies will be discussed.


The undergraduate civil engineering students at the University of Dayton (UD) are required to take a three semester credit hours soil mechanics course along with a one-credit hour soil mechanics laboratory to accompany the lectures. There are a total of ten experiments which are conducted over the course of the semester. In addition, two dual-level advanced geotechnical courses are offered which can be taken by the undergraduate students to satis~ their civil engineering electives, or towards their graduate programs. These reference courses are the advanced soil mechanics and foundation design. Students have also the option of taking an independent study custom-designed course in lieu of either one of the two advanced courses. The principal objective of this paper is to outline the integration of personal computers in these courses. Furthermore, the role of personal computers in conducting research projects as partial fulfillment of independent study courses will be discussed as well. Specifically, several recent computer programs, developed by the students as part of their term projects, will be reviewed herein to demonstrate the significance of personal computers in geotechnical engineering education.

Personal Computer Use at UD

Prior to taking the above geotechnical courses, the students of civil engineering at UD take a number of computer courses. The incoming freshmen are first exposed to computer practices in the Introduction to Civil Engineering Course, CIE 101. At this point they are introduced to the computer facility which include several PC and workstation laboratories and learn how to use the electronic mail and word processing. In the following semester, they are required to take a computer drawing course in which they are taught the basics of descriptive geometry and various CAD packages. During the sophomore year, structured programming logic is reviewed in a course called CPS 132. Subsequently, the computer applications in civil engineering are covered as part of an introductory course titled civil engineering computation laboratory, CIE 220. In this course, other programming routines such as BASIC and spread sheet are covered. Also, the students are

1 AssociateProfessor of Civil Engineering, The University of Dayton, Ohio 45469-0243

Zoghi, P. M. (1996, June), Use Of Personal Computers To Enhance The Geotechnical Engineering Education Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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