A FRAMEWORK FOR ADAPTIVE E-LEARNING FOR CONTINUUM MECHANICS AND STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS

J.C. Mosquera-Feijoo, L. Plaza-Beltrán, B. González-Rodrigo

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
This paper presents a project for providing the students of Structural Engineering with the flexibility to learn outside classroom schedules. The goal is a framework for adaptive E-learning based on a repository of open educational courseware with a set of basic Structural Engineering concepts and fundamentals. These are paramount for students to expand their technical knowledge and skills in structural analysis and design of tall buildings, arch-type structures as well as bridges.

Thus, concepts related to structural behaviour such as linearity, compatibility, stiffness and influence lines have traditionally been elusive for students. The objective is to facilitate the student a teaching-learning process to acquire the necessary intuitive knowledge, cognitive skills and the basis for further technological modules and professional development in this area. As a side effect, the system is expected to help the students improve their preparation for exams on the subject.

In this project, a web-based open-source system for studying influence lines on continuous beams is presented. It encompasses a collection of interactive user-friendly applications accessible via Web, written in JavaScript under JQuery and Dygraph Libraries, taking advantage of their efficiency and graphic capabilities.

It is performed in both Spanish and English languages. The student is enabled to set the geometric, topologic, boundary and mechanic layout of a continuous beam. While changing the loading and the support conditions, the changes in the beam response prompt on the screen, so that the effects of the several issues involved in structural analysis become apparent. This open interaction with the user allows the student to simulate and virtually infer the structural response. Different levels of complexity can be handled, whereas an ongoing help is at hand for any of them.
Students can freely boost their experiential learning on this subject at their own pace, in order to further share, process, generalize and apply the relevant essential concepts of Structural Engineering analysis.

Besides, this collection is being added to the "Virtual Lab of Continuum Mechanics" of the UPM, launched in 2013 (http://serviciosgate.upm.es/laboratoriosvirtuales/laboratorios/medios-continuos-en-construcci%C3%B3n).