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Utilizing a Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment as a Training Tool for Construction Students

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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

BIM and Virtual Construction Environments

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1451.1 - 25.1451.12



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Paper Authors


Tulio Sulbaran University of Southern Mississippi

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Tulio Sulbaran received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology with a concentration in construction management and with a minor in computer engineering and strong statistical background. He has more than eight years of work experience in the A/E/C (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry with office and field experience in scheduling, estimating, and project management in the United States and several international locations, including Venezuela, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and Thailand. Sulbaran is an accomplished teacher and has taught a variety of construction courses, including Construction Planning and Scheduling, Construction Project Management, Cost Estimating I, Project Control, Proposal Preparation, and Project Implementation, among others. Sulbaran received the prestigious John Trimmer Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010. Sulbaran engages students in learning activities inside and outside the classroom continuously advocating hands-on experience and collaborative learning. He has been in the forefront of online teaching, and he was one of the pioneers in delivering online courses in the School of Construction. He established the Study Abroad program in Panama at the University of Southern Mississippi. Sulbaran led the effort to establish the newly created master's of science in logistics, trade, and transportation (MSLTT), and he is currently leading the effort to put the MSLTT fully online to further the educational reach of the university. Sulbaran has the best externally funded projects track record of the School of Construction. He has submitted as PI/Co-PI more than 100 proposals and has been awarded more than 40 externally funded projects, totaling more than $10 million. Additionally, he has been collaborator in multi-million, multi-institution proposals with institutions in the United States and abroad. Sulbaran has received funding from several organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Transportation Research Board, Northrop Grumman, Mississippi Development Authority, Army Corp of Engineers, and Department of Health and Human Services among others. Sulbaran founded the Center for Logistics, Trade, and Transportation, and all of his projects have supported and benefit from talented graduate and/or undergraduate students from a variety of academic units in the university. Sulbaran has been very prolific in the area of scholarship and research. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed national/international publications, written several books, and made more than 100 professional presentations nationally and internationally. Sulbaran’s manuscripts have been published in the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge, and Society, the International Journal of Virtual Reality, the Journal of Marketing Education, the Marketing Education Review Journal, the IEEE- Frontiers in Education, and the American Society of Engineering Education Proceedings, among others. Sulbaran has contributed significantly to his discipline through his service activities. His leadership on several key organizations has reflected very favorably on the university. Sulbaran is the first and only faculty of the University to hold a Board of Trustee position in the American Council for Construction Education. He is also the first and only faculty serving as the Editor for the Associated Schools of Construction proceedings. Sulbaran has served in multiple university committees, such as the I-TECH Customer Service Council, the CoST Research Award Committee, the CoST Scholarship Committee, and the SoC Accreditation Committee, among others.

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Lewis Frederick Jones III University of Southern Mississippi

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Utilizing a Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment as a Training Tool for Construction StudentsAbstractStudents graduating from a Construction Management degree or similar entering theindustry must know how to properly manage time, materials, personnel and equipment oncomplex construction projects. Unfortunately, in most cases construction students are notexposed enough to realistic construction project experience during their time at today’suniversities, leaving them with a preparation that does not fully realize their capability toface the challenges of real-world project management. The purpose of this paper is todescribe the results of a pilot project that was carried out in order to address this problem.The project involved designing and creating an interactive learning experience within theSecond Life virtual reality environment that gives construction students a realisticexperience with construction event sequences and resource management. This projectmerged the use of virtual reality environments to simulate real-life construction projectswith the perspective of using gaming tools as genuine means of education in theuniversity setting. Once a playable interactive learning experience was completed it wastested with the help of a small sample of construction students. Due to the visualinteractivity and gaming style, it was hypothesized that the use of a virtual realityenvironment such as Second Life to design and create an interactive learning experiencewould prove to be very useful for construction students to learn about and gainexperiences in project scheduling. In support of this hypothesis, it was predicted that theresults of the experiment would show that the construction students who participated didin fact learn something and gained construction experience from their time using theinteractive learning experience. While the technical questions were inconclusiveregarding whether or not the students learned anything, the opinion questions showed avery positive outlook. The participants, who each reported that they gained most of theirconstruction experience from onsite work, unanimously agreed that they gained realisticconstruction project experience from their time using the interactive learning experienceand would be interested in using virtual reality environments in the future.

Sulbaran, T., & Jones, L. F. (2012, June), Utilizing a Collaborative Virtual Reality Environment as a Training Tool for Construction Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22208

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