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Using Debate as an Inductive Learning Technique with Construction Case Studies

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Construction 2: Teaching Using Projects, Case Studies, and Service Learning

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Denise Diana Gravitt Western Illinois University Orcid 16x16

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BS Civil Engineering, Purdue University; MS Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) Purdue University; PhD Technology Management (Construction Management), Indiana State University. Associate Professor of Construction Management at WIU. 10 years industry experience in commercial and industrial/process construction prior to beginning teaching career at Indiana State University in 1999.

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Topical Areas: Case studies in construction education and industry practice; Construction law and ethics; Course delivery and instructional technologies

Background: Inductive teaching techniques such as using case studies can be beneficial in promoting motivation for students to learn topics deemed important to their profession. Using case studies has been shown to motivate students by demonstrating the relevance of the instructional topics to students' careers and can be used to foster learning of difficult concepts and topics including construction law and professional ethics. Debate has been used in various programs to foster student learning and critical thinking, but has not been documented as being widely used in construction programs. Debate can be tailored to increase student learning and understanding of difficult topics by encouraging student dialog and research of the case studies being used as debate topics. This paper focuses on the use of the debate format for learning construction legal principles, professional ethics and other major related concepts through mock mediation sessions.

Purpose: This paper will use an example case study of a current legal case related to construction and show how a debate format can promote student learning of professional ethics, major program areas of knowledge such as foundation design, soils, and construction law. A debate format for a mock meditation will allow students to fulfill the roles of Owners, Architects/Engineers, and Constructors. Multiple mediation debates using multiple case studies may foster critical thinking skills and understanding of roles and responsibilities of the main three parties involved in construction projects as well as promote discussions of professional ethics.

Conclusions: Students tend to compartmentalize knowledge learned in individual courses of a major and need to be encouraged to use knowledge from different courses to resolve complex cases and problems. Case studies can be used to promote student engagement, motivate students to research topics, and understand the relevance of topics learned in Construction Management program courses. Using a debate format for case review analysis allows for all students to participate and experience the different perspectives of major parties involved in construction projects.

Gravitt, D. D. (2017, June), Using Debate as an Inductive Learning Technique with Construction Case Studies Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29074

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