About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6606-6611
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1523

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

EDUCATIONAL UTILITY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING TEACHING. THE EXAMPLE OF AN UNSATURATED SOIL WATER FLOW CODE

G. De la Morena, L. Asensio, A. Yustres, V. Navarro

University of Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
The engineering learning is enhanced by the use of practical activities. Thus, for example, laboratory sessions are common in the best engineering schools around the world. However, the mere practical orientation does not guarantee a completely rewarding learning experience. Only if it is well planned (i.e., it is correctly coordinated with lectures) and the pre- and post-experimental tasks allow the student to gain a good understanding, then it becomes a learning experience. Otherwise, these activities may even be counterproductive.
These general issues are also applicable to a type of practical activities that is becoming increasingly important in engineering schools: the development of numerical codes. Their implementation must be well coordinated with the formulation of the underlying conceptual model and the implementation stage must be started only when the students become aware of their utility. Furthermore, it is advisable that the code solves a clearly identified problem. During its development, the energy must be focused on the physical problem that is solved. Besides, the numerical algorithm used must be consistent, but (except for purely numerical analysis subjects) it must be as simple as possible, so that the effort is focused on the topic of interest. Finally, the pre and post-processing operations must be almost automatic, but clear, allowing the visualization of the key results of the analysis.
Because of its simplicity, the development of modules in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Microsoft Excel is a useful alternative to achieve these objectives. There are several educational experiences of this type [1-4]. This work presents the process of developing a module for solving problems of unsaturated flow in porous media using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The problem proposed to Civil Engineering Masters students was the characterisation of the unsaturated flow in an earthfill dam. They were guided in the available numerical techniques, which they had to program to solve the proposed problem during a semester. The results show that the students were able to gain understanding of the problem and to identify the most relevant variables and processes while developing their modules. Although guided, the learning process showed to be more autonomous and personal compared to experiences without the spreadsheet activity. For these reasons, the experience is regarded as highly positive.

References:
[1] Fischer, R.J., Lilley, D.G. (2007). An Excel/VBA 3-D CFD program for educational purposes. In: 45th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2007. Reno, Nevada, pp. 4856-4864.
[2] Niazkar, M., Afzali, S.H. (2016). Streamline performance of Excel in stepwise implementation of numerical solutions. Computer Applications in Engineering Education 24 (4), 555-566
[3] Uziak, J., Gandure, J., Martin, L.D. (2014). Spreadsheet application in beam bending calculations. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education 12 (3), 402-407.
[4] Zaneldin, E., El-Ariss, B. (2011). Modelling some civil engineering-related problems using spreadsheets and VBA. European Journal of Scientific Research 48 (3), 370-380.
@InProceedings{DELAMORENA2017EDU,
author = {De la Morena, G. and Asensio, L. and Yustres, A. and Navarro, V.},
title = {EDUCATIONAL UTILITY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING TEACHING. THE EXAMPLE OF AN UNSATURATED SOIL WATER FLOW CODE},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.1523},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.1523},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6606-6611}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. De la Morena AU - L. Asensio AU - A. Yustres AU - V. Navarro
TI - EDUCATIONAL UTILITY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING TEACHING. THE EXAMPLE OF AN UNSATURATED SOIL WATER FLOW CODE
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.1523
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 6606
EP - 6611
ER -
G. De la Morena, L. Asensio, A. Yustres, V. Navarro (2017) EDUCATIONAL UTILITY OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING TEACHING. THE EXAMPLE OF AN UNSATURATED SOIL WATER FLOW CODE, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 6606-6611.
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