Project-based civil engineering courses

Mahendran, Mahen (1995) Project-based civil engineering courses. Journal of Engineering Education, 84(1), pp. 75-79.


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Problem solving is an essential element of civil engineering education. It has been observed that students are best able to understand civil engineering theory when there is a practical application of it. Teaching theory alone has led to lower levels of comprehension and motivation and a correspondingly higher rate of failure and “drop-out”. This paper analyses the effectiveness of introducing practical design projects at an early stage within a civil engineering undergraduate program at Queensland University of Technology. In two of the essential basic subjects, Engineering Mechanics and Steel Structures, model projects which simulate realistic engineering exercises were introduced. Students were required to work in small groups to analyse, design and build the lightest / most efficient model bridges made of specific materials such as spaghetti, drinking straw, paddle pop sticks and balsa wood and steel columns for a given design loading/target capacity. The paper traces the success of the teaching strategy at each stage from its introduction through to the final student and staff evaluation.

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ID Code: 80876
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.1995.tb00149.x
ISSN: 1069-4730
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1995 American Society for Engineering Education
Deposited On: 28 Jan 2015 23:38
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2015 11:09

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