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Web Based Visualization Techniques For Structural Design Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1148.1 - 6.1148.9

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Mohammad Haque

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

Session 2793

Web-based Visualization Techniques for Structural Design Education

Mohammed E. Haque, Ph.D., P.E.

Texas A&M University


With the advances in information technology over the last decade, the traditional teaching format of having an individual lecture to an audience has been supplemented, and in some cases, replaced by the rapid development and implementation of new distance learning methods. As technology rapidly changes, the importance of educating and training diverse populations of civil/construction engineering/science students becomes more critical. Traditional lecture format teaching methods sometimes fall short of conveying the complex analysis and design principles that need to be mastered in structural design. However when the theories are exemplified in a virtual environment with multimedia, animation, interaction, and manipulated image visualization techniques in a virtual reality environment, students' conceptual understanding are enhanced. The important advantages of the virtual reality environment over other computer- based design tools are that it enables the user to interact with the simulation to conceptualize relations that are not apparent from a less dynamic representation, and to visualize models that are difficult to understand in other ways. The interactive nature of virtual environments made it a natural extension to the 3-D graphics that enable students to visualize real life structures before actually building them. The main objective of this research was to create an innovative structural design concept visualization methodology on a web-based interactive virtual environment. The principal elements of the presented approach are: animation, user interaction, manipulated image visualization, and virtual navigation. The presented paper illustrates the design concept visualization techniques for flexural and shear behavior of reinforced concrete beams. It was created using mainly Java and Virtual Reality Modeling Languages (VRML). The presented teaching and learning methodology employed a generic architecture, which was discipline/course independent, and can be adapted to various other civil/construction engineering/science courses that will certainly promote and enhance students’ subject visualization and conceptual understanding.

I. Introduction

Structural design concept visualization whether in reinforced concrete or steel structure is a subject that depends on geometric and physical perception, and every effort should be made by educators to enhance this ability. This makes it as an interesting challenge in an exciting area, requiring creativity and imagination as well as knowledge and systematic thinking. Traditional lecture format teaching methods sometimes fall short of conveying the complex analysis and

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Haque, M. (2001, June), Web Based Visualization Techniques For Structural Design Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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