Location

Chicago, Illinois

Session Start Date

4-29-2013

Session End Date

5-4-2013

Abstract

As engineering is essentially an application of science and mathematics to resolve real-life, practical problems, incorporation of actual field encounters or case histories in the teaching process can facilitate better understanding among students by providing a link between the theories and the applied solutions. It is the same for geo-engineering courses, like Advanced Foundation Engineering. By introducing the study of a relevant existing case in the course, the gap between theories and field applications can be effectively bridged. It is therefore no wonder that recent years have seen increased emphasis on problem-based learning in the delivery of engineering courses. In this paper, the implementation of a group project in the final year Advanced Foundation Engineering course in the form of a case study is discussed. Set against the background of challenging foundation issues on deep peat deposit at Sibu, Sarawak state of East Malaysia, students were required to examine the underlying problems and to propose an effective solution. Individual groups of 4-5 students exercised critical thinking in systematically analyzing the causes of foundation failures in the area and formulating suitable solutions based on lectures, extra reading and talking to the experts. Weekly discourse was held with the lecturer throughout the 12-week endeavour to ensure satisfactory work progress as well as to provide guidance where necessary. At the end of the project, each group constructed a scaled model to demonstrate the conceptual model of their respective foundation design and solution to the problematic soil. Documentation included the Project Folder, which chronicled the development of the conceptual model and design (i.e. project management); and the Technical Report, which elaborated and explained the creative work of the students (i.e. technical writing). In a nutshell, the embedded case study approach enlivened the learning process of an otherwise ‘dreary’ subject, and helped to enhance the students’ soft skills often overlooked in the delivery of geo-engineering courses.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Seventh Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

4-29-2013

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2013 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Apr 29th, 12:00 AM May 4th, 12:00 AM

"Extreme Foundations" for Peat Deposits: Conceptual Model, Creative Thinking and Learning Process

Chicago, Illinois

As engineering is essentially an application of science and mathematics to resolve real-life, practical problems, incorporation of actual field encounters or case histories in the teaching process can facilitate better understanding among students by providing a link between the theories and the applied solutions. It is the same for geo-engineering courses, like Advanced Foundation Engineering. By introducing the study of a relevant existing case in the course, the gap between theories and field applications can be effectively bridged. It is therefore no wonder that recent years have seen increased emphasis on problem-based learning in the delivery of engineering courses. In this paper, the implementation of a group project in the final year Advanced Foundation Engineering course in the form of a case study is discussed. Set against the background of challenging foundation issues on deep peat deposit at Sibu, Sarawak state of East Malaysia, students were required to examine the underlying problems and to propose an effective solution. Individual groups of 4-5 students exercised critical thinking in systematically analyzing the causes of foundation failures in the area and formulating suitable solutions based on lectures, extra reading and talking to the experts. Weekly discourse was held with the lecturer throughout the 12-week endeavour to ensure satisfactory work progress as well as to provide guidance where necessary. At the end of the project, each group constructed a scaled model to demonstrate the conceptual model of their respective foundation design and solution to the problematic soil. Documentation included the Project Folder, which chronicled the development of the conceptual model and design (i.e. project management); and the Technical Report, which elaborated and explained the creative work of the students (i.e. technical writing). In a nutshell, the embedded case study approach enlivened the learning process of an otherwise ‘dreary’ subject, and helped to enhance the students’ soft skills often overlooked in the delivery of geo-engineering courses.