SPECIAL CONCRETES AT CIVIL ENGINEERING DEGREES: A PRACTICAL CASE OF LEARNING METHODOLOGY IN ORDER TO FOSTER THE RESEARCH SKILLS OF STUDENTS
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Nowadays, the use of special concretes has become very common at civil engineering and architecture fields. These concretes have specific characteristics depending on their use. Recently, their development has been very important.
Traditionally, the teaching methodology used at the subjects of Civil Engineering degrees related to special concretes has been based on master classes. In these classes, the teacher used to explain the aspects of each type of special concrete, without any active participation of the students in the learning process.
Today, it has been developed several teaching methodologies in which the students play an important role. In the particular case of the subjects about special concretes, one of the main advantages of these methodologies is that they try to develop the skills of the students to research and look for specific information. The acquisition of these skills has a lot of interest in our context, because the increasing number of new concretes makes impossible to explain all of them in one subject of an engineering degree. Besides, these skills could be also useful for the students in their future job, because the globalized labour market of engineers brings with it the possibility that the students can carry out a high amount of different tasks during their professional career. As a consequence, these new teaching methodologies produce a better training of future engineers.
In this work, it is shown the experience and the results of applying a new teaching methodology at the subject “Special concretes” of Civil Engineering master’s degree at University of Alicante (Spain). The subject has a total of 45 hours which are given during four months. The methodology is based on the work of students during the class. The different types of special concretes are divided in two groups. The first group is made up of the most used or “classic” special concretes like high performance concrete, steel fiber reinforced concrete, self-compacting concrete, etc. On the other hand, the second group includes more specific or new types of special concretes, like concretes with glass or polypropylene fibers, sprayed concretes, special additives, concrete pavements, self-healing concretes, etc.
During the first classes, it is shown to the students the different tools and sources where look for specific information (like Scopus, ISI Web of Knowledge, etc.) using a classroom with computers in order to facilitate the learning process. In the next classes, the teacher gives to the students some papers of specialized scientific magazines and papers of conferences proceedings about the abovementioned first group of special concretes. These papers are read by the students at class and after that, they are discussed in order to extract the more relevant information of each special concrete. If it is possible, during the course it is also organized a lecture given by a professional engineer about a specific special concrete. Regarding the second group of special concretes, each student has to elaborate a research work about one of them. These works will be exposed to the teacher and to the rest of students in an oral presentation of 20 minutes long. After the presentation, each research work is discussed too.
Finally, it has been observed better results using this new methodology than using the old one based on master classes, with the added value to develop different skills of students very useful for their future professional career.
Keywords: Civil Engineering, Architecture, Special concretes, research skills.