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Computer Applications in Engineering Education , Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 235-243, 1999 o!n "ile# and $ons, %nc.

Developing a Web-Based Learning Module in a Basic Civil Engineering Course


Andres W.C. Oreta Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University 2401 Taft Ave., Manila, !ilippines Email" #oea#o$%ls&.e%&.p! ABSTRACT Many &niversities 'orl%'i%e !ave t!eir o'n !ome pages in t!e (orl% (i%e (e) a##essi)le to )ot! fa#&lty an% st&%ents via &ser*frien%ly (e) )ro'sers. T!&s, e%&#ation an% learning reso&r#es m&st )e %evelope% an% p&)lis!e% in t!e (e) to ma+imi,e t!e &sef&lness of t!is ne' te#!nology in !ig!er e%&#ation. -n line 'it! t!is t!r&st, a (e)* )ase% Learning Mo%&le in a )asi# #ivil engineering #o&rse in str&#t&ral analysis 'as %evelope%. T!is arti#le %es#ri)es t!e pro#ess, prin#iples an% tools &se% in %eveloping t!is learning mo%&le. e!"ords# (orl% (i%e (e). -nternet. -ntera#tive learning. Civil engineering. Engineering e%&#ation $%TROD&CT$O% T!e %evelopment of fast an% affor%a)le mi#ro#omp&ters an% t!e tremen%o&s pop&larity an% availa)ility of t!e -nternet or (orl% (i%e (e) /(((0 !ave starte% to transform t!e pro#esses of tea#!ing an% learning in !ig!er e%&#ation. E%&#ators an% st&%ents in &niversities in engineering !ave starte% to &n%erstan% an% e+plore t!e potential of t!is (e) te#!nology in t!e %elivery of e%&#ational an% learning materials. E+amples of t!ese are t!e &se of prototype system for intera#tive learning of C programming in t!e (e) at Clevelan% State University 112, t!e %elivery of virt&al le#t&res in a t!ir%*year &n%ergra%&ate #o&rse in %ata)ase at D&)lin City University, -relan% 122, t!e #reation of an 3nline (riting Center at Colora%o State University 142, t!e %esign of a (e) interfa#e for

2 a #o&rse on #omp&ter net'or5s at t!e University of 6eir&t, 7e' 8or5 142 an% t!e %evelopment of (e) 6ase% 9eso&r#es for a Core Engineering Unit at :&eenslan% University of Te#!nology 1; 2. T!e potential of t!e ((( as a me%i&m to en!an#e st&%ents< learning is a promising an% important resear#! &n%erta5ing in engineering e%&#ation. Many &niversities 'orl%'i%e !ave t!eir o'n !ome pages in t!e (((. T!e availa)ility of &ser*frien%ly (e) )ro'sers, an% t!e gro'ing in%&stry of -nternet Servi#e rovi%ers ma5e t!e (e) easily a##essi)le to fa#&lty an% st&%ents in t!eir !omes, s#!ool, li)rary, offi#e or la)oratory. (it! t!e availa)ility of very po'erf&l )&t affor%a)le #omp&ters 'it! giga)ytes of !ar% %is5 storage, t!e (e) provi%es almost &nlimite% spa#e to store e%&#ational an% learning reso&r#es. T!&s, t!ere is a gro'ing nee% to %evelop (e)*)ase% learning materials to ma+imi,e t!e &sef&lness of t!is te#!nology f&lly in !ig!er e%&#ation. (it! t!is in min%, t!e a&t!or a%vise% an% g&i%e% a gro&p of &n%ergra%&ate st&%ents in %eveloping a (e)* )ase% Learning Mo%&le /(LM0 in a )asi# #ivil engineering #o&rse in str&#t&ral analysis 1=2. Spe#ifi#ally, t!e pro>e#t aims /a0 to s&pplement t!e tra%itional #lassroom learning materials, /)0 to serve as a revie' material in preparation for an e+amination, an% /#0 to open t!e possi)ility of a%apting an on*line system in provi%ing Contin&ing rofessional E%&#ation /C E0 for professional engineers. T!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis 'as #omplete% t!is year an% is no' part of t!e !ome page of t!e Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University*Manila. T!e o)>e#tive of t!is arti#le is to %es#ri)e t!e pro#ess, prin#iples an% tools &se% in %eveloping a (e)*)ase% Learning Mo%&le. -n t!e s&##ee%ing se#tions, t!e o)>e#tives an% feat&res of t!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis are presente% to serve as a g&i%e an% e+ample to f&t&re (LM %evelopers. LEAR%$%' OB(ECT$)ES A%D MET*ODOLO'+ -ntera#tive learning on t!e (e) may )e a 'ay to partially s&pplement t!e #lassroom learning e+perien#e )y provi%ing an intera#tive environment similar to t!e #lassroom )&t 'it! more attention to in%ivi%&al st&%ent nee%s 112. T!e intera#tion %evelope% in &sing t!e (e) ma5es t!e st&%ent engage in t!e learning pro#ess an% t!e in%ivi%&al )e#omes self*motivate% in t!e %is#overy of ne' 5no'le%ge. ?&rt!ermore, a st&%ent #an learn at !is@!er o'n time, pa#e an% lo#ation /!ome, offi#e, li)rary or la)oratory0 &nli5e in a tra%itional #lassroom environment. Using t!ese learning prin#iples

4 as g&i%e, t!e a&t!or an% !is st&%ents %evelope% a (e)*)ase% Learning Mo%&le /(LM0 in Str&#t&ral Analysis to promote t!e in#reasing resear#! efforts of %eveloping ne' (e)* )ase% e%&#ational reso&r#es. T!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis 'as %esigne% for st&%ents '!o alrea%y !ave a )a#5gro&n% in Strengt! of Materials an% Str&#t&ral Analysis. -t 'as %esigne% for &sers or learners '!o 'o&l% li5e to test t!eir &n%erstan%ing an% #ompre!ension on t!e )asi# #on#epts an% prin#iples of str&#t&ral analysis. -t 'as not %esigne% to %eliver a #o&rse t!ro&g! t!e (e) li5e a !yper#o&rse. t!&s yo& 'o&l% not e+pe#t le#t&re materials in t!ese mo%&les. T!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis aims to %eepen t!e &n%erstan%ing of a learner on t!e )asi# #on#epts an% prin#iples t!ro&g! o)>e#tive A&estions. Tea#!ing t!ro&g! o)>e#tive A&estions !elps t!e st&%ent in learning an% %eveloping 1B2. 3)>e#tive A&estioning !elps t!e learner to s!arpen ones i%eas t!ro&g! a pro#ess of refle#tion on t!e material an% intera#tion 'it! it. -n t!ese mo%&les, t!e learning materials are presente% in t!e form of M&ltiple C!oi#e :&estions MC:s or o)>e#tive A&estions '!ere)y a st&%ent or learner is pose% a pro)lem an% !as to #!oose t!e )est ans'er from fo&r options. (it! t!is approa#!, t!e learner nee%s to refle#t on t!e pro)lem, apply )asi# #on#epts an% prin#iples, &se form&las an% eA&ations to solve t!e pro)lem, an% t!en #!oose t!e #orre#t an% )est ans'er. A fee%)a#5 is given '!enever t!e #!oi#e is in#orre#t to g&i%e t!e learner on !o' to arrive at t!e #orre#t ans'er. T!is pro#ess of instant fee%)a#5 is inten%e% to ma5e t!e learning mo%&le intera#tive an% not stati#. ?rom t!e given !ints an% information, t!e learner is g&i%e% on !o' to solve t!e pro)lem. 3nly '!en t!e learner gets t!e #orre#t ans'er t!at !e@s!e moves to t!e ne+t A&estion. 6y going t!ro&g! t!ese series of MC:s or o)>e#tive A&estions, t!e &ser 'ill !ave a )etter an% %eeper &n%erstan%ing of t!e s&)>e#t matter. WEB S$TE A%D *OME ,A'E T!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis may )e a##esse% %ire#tly )y t!e (e) a%%ress !ttp&''(((.dlsu.edu.p!'colleges'coe'ci)il'*rontp or in%ire#tly )y first lo#ating t!e !ome page of De La Salle University /DLSU0 System 'it! t!e (e) a%%ress !ttp&''(((.s#stem.dlsu.edu.p!. (it!in t!e DLSU System !ome page, #!oose t!e options in t!e follo'ing or%er" DLSU*Manila, Colleges, College of Engineering, Civil Engineering an% Learning Mo%&le in Str&#t&ral Analysis. T!e parent page or !ome page of t!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis is s!o'n in ?ig&re 1.

-igure .. *o/epage o0 t1e WLM in Structural Anal!sis T!e (LM !ome page provi%es a##ess to t!e follo'ing materials" /a0 information a)o&t t!e a&t!ors, /)0 an intro%&#tion %es#ri)ing t!e (LM<s inten%e% a&%ien#e, feat&res, #ontents, topi#s an% o)>e#tives, an% /#0 t!e fo&r learning mo%&les #lassifie% as Mo%&le 1 " Sta)ility an% Determina#y of Str&#t&res Mo%&le 2 " Analysis of Stati#ally Determinate Tr&sses Mo%&le 4 " Elasti# Str&#t&ral Analysis Mo%&le 4 " Stress Analysis

T!e &ser !as t!e #!oi#e '!i#! mo%&le to ta5e. COM,O%E%TS O- A LEAR%$%' MOD&LE T!e (e) page of ea#! learning mo%&le #ontains an intro%&#tion %es#ri)ing t!e general s#ope of t!e mo%&le an% some %efinition of terms, t!e %egree of %iffi#&lty of t!e A&estions, an% t!e topi#s #overe%. -t also en&merates t!e spe#ifi# o)>e#tives of t!e MC:s to ma5e #lear to t!e &ser '!at is )eing teste% in t!e mo%&le. -f a &ser 'ants to start an%

; rea% t!e o)>e#tive A&estions , t!e C:&estion 7o. 1D !over )&tton #an )e a#tivate% '!en t!e mo&se pointer is move% over t!e )&tton an% #li#5e%.

-igure 2. T!pical MC3 ,age statement or A&estion, T!e MC: (e) page in ?ig&re 2 #onsists of Web t!e pro)lem sometimes a##ompanie% 'it! a fig&re an% t!e #!oi#es for t!e ans'er '!i#! may )e in t!e form of fig&res or te+t. To ans'er t!e spe#ifi# A&estion, t!e &ser simply #li#5s on a spe#ifi# #!oi#e. Ea#! MC: (e) page is lin5e% to fo&r (e) pages #orrespon%ing to t!e fo&r #!oi#es in t!e o)>e#tive A&estions. -f t!e #!oi#e is in#orre#t, a (e) page is %isplaye% s!o'ing a message C"rongD an% some !ints an% information on '!y t!e #!oi#e is in#orre#t /?ig&re 40. T!is fee%)a#5 is inten%e% to g&i%e t!e &ser or learner on !o' to get t!e #orre#t ans'er. A s&ggestion of referen#es for f&rt!er rea%ing is also in#l&%e%. T!e &ser ret&rns to t!e A&estion an% ma5es anot!er #!oi#e. -f t!e #!oi#e is #orre#t, a C +ig!tD message an% a )rief information a)o&t t!e ans'er are %isplaye% /?ig&re 40. T!e &ser may t!en pro#ee% to t!e ne+t A&estion. T!e &ser !as t!e option to move to t!e ne+t mo%&le or stop after #ompleting a mo%&le.

-igure 4. A 5Wrong5 C1oice Web ,age -igure 6. A 5Rig1t5 C1oice Web ,age

DES$'% O- M&LT$,LE C*O$CE 3&EST$O%S T!e MC:s or o)>e#tive A&estions 'ere %esigne% to test t!e st&%ent<s 5no'le%ge an% &n%erstan%ing of important terms, #on#epts, prin#iples an% ass&mptions relate% to a spe#ifi# topi#. T!e st&%ent is also teste% on !is@!er a)ility to apply t!ese #on#epts an% prin#iples )y s&)>e#ting !im or !er to pro)lems '!i#! reA&ire n&meri#al #al#&lation. T!e %esign of t!e MC:s #an )e #lassifie% into %ifferent formats %epen%ing on t!e presentation of t!e A&estion an% t!e #!oi#es. T!e first format is #!ara#teri,e% 'it! t!e A&estion an% t!e #!oi#es, all given as te+t. ?ig&re ; is an e+ample of t!is. (it! t!is 5in% of presentation, t!e 5no'le%ge of t!e &ser or learner on )asi# #on#epts, %efinitions, stan%ar% sym)ols an% nomen#lat&re may )e teste%. T!is 5in% of presentation is t!e most %iffi#&lt for t!e learner )e#a&se !e@s!e !as to &se !is@!er imagination to form&late t!e pro)lem sin#e t!e A&estion is not provi%e% 'it! fig&res.

-igure 7. 3uestion and c1oice ans"ers as plain te8t Anot!er format of presenting t!e MC:s is )y a##ompanying t!e A&estion 'it! fig&res or %iagrams. (!at is meas&re% in t!is 5in% of A&estioning is t!e familiarity of t!e learner on stan%ar% sym)ols or %iagrams. T!e MC:s &sing fig&res may )e presente% in vario&s 'ays" /a0 t!e A&estion is given a##ompanie% 'it! a fig&re an% t!e #!oi#es given as te+t as s!o'n in ?ig&re =, /)0 t!e A&estion is given in te+t an% t!e #!oi#es given as fig&res as s!o'n in ?ig&re B, or /#0 )ot! t!e A&estion an% #!oi#es are a##ompanie% )y fig&res or %iagrams /?ig&re E0. (it! MC:s &sing fig&res or %iagrams, t!e learner is eval&ate% on !is@!er a)ility to interpret t!e given fig&res or %iagrams an% relate t!em to t!e )asi# #on#epts.

-igure 9. 3uestion "it1 0igure te8t and c1oice ans"ers in te8t

-igure :. 3uestion in te8t and c1oice ans"ers in 0igures

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-igure ;. Bot1 <uestion and c1oice ans"ers in 0igures Using fig&res or p&re te+t in presenting MC:s !as a%vantages an% %isa%vantages. ?rom t!e point of vie' of t!e learner, t!e pro)lem may )e easily &n%erstoo% '!en a##ompanie% 'it! fig&res. !o'ever, %ra'ing fig&res reA&ires e+tra effort an% s5ill for t!e (e) site %eveloper an% a%eA&ate #omp&ter memory is reA&ire%. 3n t!e ot!er !an%, MC:s in p&re te+t are more %iffi#&lt to form&late sin#e t!e A&estions !ave to )e properly

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11 %esigne%, #omplete 'it! %es#riptions an% %efinitions, an% at t!e same time, t!ey m&st )e s!ort an% #on#ise. MC:s in p&re te+t, !o'ever, are easier to #reate an% p&)lis! in t!e (e). T!e (LM %eveloper may &se a #om)ination of t!ese formats %epen%ing on t!e topi# an% spe#ifi# learning o)>e#tives of a mo%&le. DES$'% O- WEB ,A'ES T!ere are vario&s 'ays of preparing an% p&)lis!ing (e) %o#&ments. 8o& #an 'rite t!e %o#&ments or (e) pages from s#rat#! in GTML /Gyper Te+t Mar5&p Lang&age0 &sing tools li5e Hava or HavaS#ript. T!is approa#! of %eveloping (e) pages may )e time #ons&ming an% #ompli#ate% espe#ially if t!e %eveloper is not familiar 'it! GTML. A more #onvenient an% faster 'ay is to &se a soft'are '!ere %o#&ments #an )e 'ritten easily &sing a familiar an% &ser*frien%ly e%itor an% #an )e #onverte% into a file 'it! GTML format so t!at it #an )e p&)lis!e% in t!e (e). T!is #an )e %one &sing t!e latest version of Mi#rosoft (or% or Mi#rosoft ?ront age. (it! t!is approa#!, a fa#&lty or st&%ent &nfamiliar 'it! of GTML #an easily p&)lis! (e) pages in t!e &niversity !ome page. T!e %esign of t!e (e) pages of t!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis 'as #reate% &sing Mi#rosoft ?ront age 1E2. MS ?ront age, a (e) #reation an% management tool, %oes not reA&ire programming 5no'le%ge an% is ro)&st eno&g! for e+perien#e% (e) site %evelopers. -t #onsists of t'o &sef&l tools, t!e ?ront age E%itor an% t!e ?ront age E+plorer. T!e ?ront age E%itor is a tool for #reating, %esigning, an% e%iting (e) pages. Te+ts, images, ta)les, form fiel%s an% ot!er elements #an )e a%%e% to yo&r page an% ?ront age E%itor %isplays t!em as t!ey 'o&l% appear in a (e) )ro'ser. T!ere is no nee% to learn GTML )e#a&se ?ront age E%itor #reates all GTML #o%e an% generates all pop&lar GTML tags, in#l&%ing e+tensions s&#! as #as#a%ing style s!eets. (!en t!e ?ront age %o#&ment is #omplete%, t!e ?ront age E+plorer is &se% to p&)lis! it on t!e #omp&ter, t!e &niversity intranet or t!e (orl% (i%e (e). T!e %esign of t!e (LM is of #o&rse s&)>e#t to t!e limitations of a soft'are li5e MS ?ront age. ?or e+ample, t!e %evelopers inten%e% to %isplay as fee%)a#5 t!e rating of t!e performan#e of a &ser on t!e MC:s after #ompleting a mo%&le. 6&t 'it! MS ?ront age only, t!is is not possi)le. T!is 'o&l% reA&ire some programming &sing a

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12 %ifferent soft'are an% integrating t!e program into t!e (e) page %evelope% &sing MS ?ront age. CO%CL&S$O% A%D RECOMME%DAT$O% T!e %esign an% %evelopment of a (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis &sing MS ?ront age 'as presente%. 6ase% on t!e e+perien#e in %eveloping t!e (LM, t!e follo'ing #on#l&sions may )e s&mmari,e%" T!e %esign an% p&)lis!ing of a simple (LM #an )e easily %one even 'it!o&t a 5no'le%ge of GTML. T!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis stim&lates learning t!ro&g! o)>e#tive or m&ltiple #!oi#e A&estions /MC:s0 A (LM )e an effe#tive learning tool an% !as a%vantages to t!e st&%ent or learner in terms of a##essi)ility, fle+i)ility, pa#ing an% time. ?inally, to eval&ate t!e effe#tiveness of t!e (LM in en!an#ing st&%ents< learning, t!e (LM in Str&#t&ral Analysis 'ill )e teste% in t!e a&t!or<s #lass in Str&#t&ral Analysis an% 'o&l% )e re#ommen%e% to ne' gra%&ates preparing for t!e professional li#ens&re e+amination. S&ggestions an% #omments from t!e &sers m&st )e o)taine% to f&rt!er improve t!e mo%&le. AC %OWLED'EME%T T!e final implementation of t!is pro>e#t 'as #arrie% o&t )y t!e &n%ergra%&ate t!esis st&%ents, Mi#!ael 6. 6aylon, Se)astian Eryson G. Magpantay an% Ernestson Genri#! L. Tan. T!e assistan#e of t!e staff of t!e DLSU*-nformation Systems an% Te#!nology Center in &ploa%ing of t!e (LM is %eeply appre#iate%. RE-ERE%CES 112 122 142 D. 9. M#-ntyre an% ?.I. (olff,. An e+periment 'it! ((( intera#tive learning in &niversity e%&#ation, Comput Educ 41/1FFE0, 2;;*2=4 A.?. Smeaton an% I. Jeog!, An analysis of t!e &se of virt&al %elivery of &n%ergra%&ate le#t&res, Comput Educ 42 /1FFF0 E4*F4 T.H. Siller, M. almA&ist an% D.E. Kimmerman, Te#!nology as a Le!i#le for -ntegrating Comm&ni#ation an% Team'or5ing S5ills in Engineering C&rri#&la, Comput Appl Eng Educ = /1FFE0, 24;*2;4 142 A. Jayssi, . et al . (e)*6ase% T&toring an% Testing in a Comp&ter

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14 7et'or5s Co&rse, Comput Appl Eng Educ B /1FFF0, 1*B 1;2 .H. Gines, H.M. 6ell an% 9.E. Clegg, Logisti#s of Developing (e) 6ase% 9eso&r#es for a Core Engineering Unit, AEE$EA, 7o. 1 M 2, De#em)er 1FFB, 4B*4;. 1=2 M. 6aylon, S. Magpantay an% E. Tan, .-e)elopment o* a "e.-.ased /earning 0odule in $tructural Anal#sis, Un%ergra%&ate T!esis, De La Salle University*Manila, !ilippines, 1FFF 1B2 1E2 . Dayaratnam, $tructural Engineering t!roug! 1.2ecti)e 3uestions, Tata M#Ira'*Gill &)lis!ing Co., 7e' Del!i, 1FE1 Mi#rosoft Corp. 0$ 4ront,age Editor and E5plorer 6elp, USA, 1FFB Eng Educ , Lol. 2B,

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