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Paper convr-2013-34:
ecoCampus: a new approach to sustainable design education

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Ayer S,Messner J,Anumba C

ecoCampus: a new approach to sustainable design education

Abstract: Civil and architectural engineering education programs strive to prepare students to design built environments that will be used by society. Some of these built systems can be challenging for laypeople to visualize while learning the design process. This research focuses on improving the way that students visualize and engage with building design content through the creation of a novel educational tool for designing sustainable building elements. The tool prototype, called ecoCampus, is an educational game that uses augmented reality technology on a mobile computing platform. It allows users to visualize a possible building retrofit design in the context of an existing built space and also receive tailored feedback about their design. The prototype application was tested with 47 first-year architectural engineering students to better understand the benefit of this tool. The results of this implementation were analyzed and compared to the results of prior semesters’ students who were tasked with completing a similar retrofit design activity without the use of ecoCampus or a mobile computing device. This comparison suggests that students who completed the ecoCampus activity were more likely to complete multiple design iterations as well as experiment with materials other than those present in the existing wall, suggesting that ecoCampus may help to break the tendency toward design fixation. Additionally, students generally rated the experience as highly enjoyable, suggesting engagement with this teaching tool. Future work will implement the ecoCampus experience with students in several building-related majors to identify possible additional benefits that can be observed.

Keywords: ecoCampus,Simulation Game,Augmented Reality,Engineering Education,Situated Learning Theory


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