Advanced video technology was used to incorporate multi-component (inter-university and university-industry) collaborations in geotechnical engineering laboratory courses. The project was conducted between California Polytechnic State University (California), Auburn University (Alabama), and Nippon Koei Co., Ltd. (Japan). Synchronous video conferencing and asynchronous video communications were used between the partners. The conferencing activities included guest lectures and exchange of assignments. New assignments developed in the study included role-playing whereby one class acted as a client on a project that was ordering geotechnical testing to be completed by the students at the other university acting as a consulting firm. New assignments also included a practitioner from Japan and practical design problems. Students were required to complete assignments in unconventional formats that included video components. The student video productions were created for universal accessibility (e.g., captioning used for videos). Having students formulate practical design scenarios in their local environment was beneficial for development of students’ perspective on the construction industry and regulatory issues. The role-playing associated with the exercises was entertaining and demanded professional communications by the students. For the international activities, cross-cultural discussions at a professional level provided appreciation for the global context of civil engineering practice, and differences in approaching design problems in different countries. Production of films in lieu of written laboratory reports incorporated new learning styles. Students were more careful with experimental procedures when videotaping themselves than during conventional laboratory sessions and team dynamics were affected by incorporating video technology. Universal access concept was incorporated into the curricula at the two universities.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jahanson/4/