The landscape of Engineering Graphics and Design have changed substantially in the last twenty to thirty years, yet in many ways the courses and curriculum have often not adapted sufficiently to the changes in technology, design process, or integration of graphics and design through computer applications.
Having the opportunity to design a completely new course with a focus on spatial analysis and engineering drawings for Civil Engineers has provided the opportunity to review common educational offerings in other Civil Engineering programs and textbooks from major publishers on Engineering Graphics. While there was some modernization in many University offerings, the textbook resources were found to either be developed specifically for learning a software product or were a modestly updated version of traditional drafting textbooks
The challenge we chose was to develop a course that links aspects of traditional drafting with modern Computer Aided Design and Geographic Information Systems that would also introduce areas of design in Civil Engineering that would be used and built on in other courses.
Many Civil Engineering, and indeed Engineering programs in general use AutoCAD in their introductory courses. In our case we chose to introduce basic aspects of Computer Aided Design using AutoCAD but the moved to sophisticated design software, AutoCAD Civil3D. This choice was overwhelming to some students in our first iteration but supports for student learning in subsequent years significantly improved the student experience. Civil3D can also be used as a Geographic Information System (GIS) which was also a valuable experience for students, though other software is typically used in practice for GIS applications.
The specific course that was developed is given in the first term of second year and introduces design aspects for roadways, land development, water resources, earthworks, and storm water and sanitary sewer systems. This introduction to design is leveraged in several other courses in the program which had historically not had the resources and schedule to be able to include Computer Aided Design, having to rely mainly on hand calculations for analysis even though Computer Aided Design is more common in practice.
This paper presents the applicability of existing textbooks to this course, the impact of this course on other courses in the program through an evaluation of design drawings in a second year Civil Engineering Design Course and students’ perceptions of competence and confidence in using design software to complete a design and associated drawings.
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