Development and Implementation of a Multi-course Design project in the Civil Engineering Technology Curriculum Using a Modified Communities of Practice Approach
Students in Dr. Andrew Rose’s (Pitt – Johnstown) civil engineering courses no longer have to wait until graduation to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Dr. Rose has re-shaped the junior and senior year civil engineering technology (CET) curriculum. Previously, students would approach concepts sequentially through individual courses based on sub-disciplines within civil engineering. Learning occurred through largely unrelated discrete learning activities.
Dr. Rose’s new approach integrates these topics and activities into one multi-course, multi-semester, team-based design project. Using a “communities of practice” model, team members share emerging expertise as the project progresses. As they work toward designing a steel building, project teams are able to apply structural, architectural and geotechnical engineering concepts concurrently. As a result, students gain insight into the interconnectedness of different aspects of real world civil engineering.
The primary focus of this year’s project is the design of a steel building. Click image to enlarge.
Students learn to consider all aspects of civil engineering design throughout the project including working with the properties of the soil on which the steel building will rest. Click image to enlarge.