A new project-based teaching method emphasizing laboratory experimentation is being used at Lawrence Technological University. It has excited and energized the students about civil engineering applications. Engineering concepts are introduced early in the students’ academic careers using civil engineering materials. Laboratory activities related to a Civil Engineering Materials course are being used for outreach, recruitment, and an intensive laboratory experience. A departmental effort has included supporting an outreach program and expanding a freshman CE Materials course. This new teaching method has affected and complemented university recruitment and retention efforts. The course introduces incoming students to engineering analysis and the basic elements of design. CE1413 has a strong emphasis placed on practical applications for engineering design including financial considerations; engineering behavior (such as strength, thermal response, physical conditions); experimental techniques; testing specifications; comparison to field behavior; sustainable development; and analysis techniques. Students are responsible for specifying appropriate testing conditions and variables for individual experimental test programs of basic civil engineering material behavior. They relate the testing program to a practical example of civil engineering design. A wide variety of innovative experimental programs have been conducted ranging from analyzing bond strength of composite and conventional concrete reinforcing materials to comparing wood truss connection assemblies.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jahanson/12/