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Paper w78_2007_82:
Towards a consistent role for information technology in civil engineering education

Facilitated by the SciX project

Sander van Nederveen, Reza Beheshti, Edwin Dado, Hennes de Ridder

Towards a consistent role for information technology in civil engineering education

Abstract: For decades computers have influenced civil engineering education. Their role is significantly changed in due course of time in accordance with developments in both construction and information technologies. At Delft University of Technology the role of information and communication technology (ICT) has not been identified as a separate subject for many years. This has resulted in a very fragmented usage of ICT in the current curriculum. Students learn to use applications such as AutoCAD, Matlab, Maple, Powersim, etc. in all kind of engineering courses. They are also introduced in information modelling with the modelling language UML and the modelling tool Together. And they learn programming in the Java language using the JBuilder programming environment. But these ICT topics are spread over the curriculum and a comprehensive view on ICT education for Civil Engineering is missing. Recent discussions in the faculty regarding (1) laptops for all students and (2) the role of programming with Java in our study prompted a more fundamental discussion of these issues in a working group to discuss the role of ICT in civil engineering education. This paper reports the findings of this discussion. First an overview is given of the ICT methods and tools currently used in the curriculum. These methods and tools are taught in a fragmented way. In addition, clear opportunities for integration of ICT methods and tools in relevant courses are hardly considered. An important factor in this context is the curriculum structure of the faculty that gives room to different courses to be developed and offered independent of other courses. The paper also discusses the required objectives for civil engineering education. These objectives play a significant role in the formulation of proposals for improvements of the curriculum. The paper presents such a proposal devised for the improvement of ICT in the civil engineering education in Delft. Finally, findings and ideas are positioned in a broader context in an attempt to formulate some fundamental issues that are related to the education of ICT at any civil engi-neering faculty.

Keywords: ICT, education, civil engineering


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