The use of digital resources in civil engineering education: student learning and achieving accreditation criteria
McCabe, Bryan A.
Healy, Mark G.
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Nash, S.N., McCabe, B.A., Goggins, J.M. and Healy, M.G. (2012) The use of digital resources in civil engineering education: enhancing student learning and achieving accreditation criteria, Chapter 2 in The Digital Learning Revolution in Ireland: Case Studies from the National Learning Resources Service, pp. 9-32.
The use of digital resources in higher education has risen significantly over the last ten years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The challenge for educational instructors is in determining how to utilise digital resources effectively; the basis for this should not be their availability alone, but rather their ability to enhance the student learning experience and achieve desired learning outcomes. This paper describes the successful widespread integration of digital resources in the undergraduate teaching of civil engineering at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Various types of digital resources, including animations, videos, design software and case studies, are utilised. The recently completed Engineering building is itself a digital resource. Designed as a living laboratory, the building’s structure, energy systems and internal environment are heavily instrumented and the structural, environmental and energy datasets are used as teaching tools. The higher education teaching of Engineering differs significantly from that of other disciplines, such as the Arts or Humanities, in that engineering degrees are typically subject to a strict accreditation process by the national professional engineering body. In Ireland, this body (Engineers Ireland) prescribe six programme outcomes for Level 8 engineering degree programmes. The learning outcomes of individual course modules must therefore map onto one or more of these prescribed programme outcomes. The aim of this paper is to elucidate how digital resources have been used successfully by academic staff in the teaching of civil engineering subjects to help achieve professional accreditation criteria whilst also providing a more engaging student learning experience.