Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering: Enhancing the Practice in an Interactive Learning Environment

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Akili, Waddah
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Geotechnical Engineering
conference paper description
This paper focuses on the utilization of case histories in supplementing classroom education, and describes the steps taken in planning, developing, and executing a case study/case history course in geotechnical/foundation engineering at an international university. The paper sheds light on: how a “workable” format for the course was arrived at; the organization of the course; and the results of evaluating the effectiveness of this approach versus traditional lecturing. Problems and challenges that could arise when offering the course for the first time are also addressed. Embedded in this experience and its related protocols are: the emphases on engineering design, the practice, teamwork, organizational management, and oral and written communication skills. The paper concludes by confirming confirms that discussions, through an open forum, are judged to be superior to traditional lectures in improving critical thinking, cultivating desirable personal attributes, and acquiring problem-solving skills including the ability to ask intelligent questions and participate in a useful technical discussion.