Web-Based Interactive Steel Sculpture for the Google Generation
Keywords: steel connection designs, interactive steel sculpture, learning tool
AbstractIn almost all the civil engineering programs in the United States, a student is required to take at least one design course in either steel or reinforced concrete. One of the topics covered in an introductory steel design course is the design of connections. Steel connections play important roles in the integrity of a structure, and many structural failures are attributed to connection failures. In recent years, in order to help students better understand the various connection types, many schools, including Minnesota State, have acquired steel sculptures. A steel sculpture is a physical system that shows forty eight types of connections found in standard construction practices. Unfortunately, because of its size and location (eight feet tall, weighs nearly 2500 pounds and usually erected outdoor), students do not have easy access to it. Moreover, todays students who belong to the Google generation are more comfortable with web-based learning tools. To provide an effective learning opportunity for the Google generation and to provide 24-7 hour access, we have created a web-based interactive version of our steel sculpture. The interactive sculpture shows the close up view of each connection with description, potential failure modes, sample calculations, and field examples. Moreover, to measure the effectiveness of this web-based tool, we conducted student surveys. In this paper, we describe in detail, how the interactive steel sculpture was developed, the results of the surveys, and how this tool could be used to enhance students learning in a steel design class.
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