Playing with Fire: An On-Line Active Learning Module to Teach Structural Behavior under Fire
Batista Abreu, Jean
Godoy, Luis A.
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This paper reports on the development and use of an on-line module for teaching structural behavior under fire to civil engineering students. This topic is usually neglected in civil engineering undergraduate and graduate courses, which tend to concentrate on earthquake and wind loads; however, the role of fire in destroying constructed facilities has been recently illustrated by accidents in oil refineries and fuel storage plants. A methodology known as “learning-by-doing in a virtual environment” has been employed in this innovation to develop an on-line teaching module that can be used in class or in out-of-school time. The student plays the role of an expert whose advice is requested by a company to explain the damage in a metal storage tank that was under fire. The student can request advice from virtual experts on general topics, use a specially created library, investigate the incident, and at the end the student has to write a report with his/her findings. Twenty graduate students participated in this activity during 2011 and their performances as well as their assessment of the activity are discussed in the paper.