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University of Wisconsin - Madison College of Engineering

 

The 2011 Harvey Spangler Award
for Technology Enhanced Instruction

 

Hussain U. Bahia.

Hussain U. Bahia
Civil and Environmental Engineering

When Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Hussain Bahia considered how to use video instruction to redesign and improve a high-demand civil and environmental engineering course, Materials for Constructed Facilities (CEE 395), one of his objectives also was to retain student-instructor “face time.” At the time, this instructor-intensive course, which enrolls approximately 90 students per year, included 50-minute lectures twice each week and a weekly two-hour laboratory section that focuses on construction material behavior and standardized tests used to evaluate construction materials in practice.

With help and support from Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor and college Associate Dean Steven Cramer, Bahia modernized and refined Materials for Constructed Facilities in a way that decreases the resources needed to offer it while enhancing the student learning experience.

The result is a course that combines a series of online video lectures, lab materials and detailed video “lab tutorials,” assignments, and interactive quizzes with in-person lecture and laboratory sessions that enable students to discuss the online material in small groups and with the instructors. Web-based, access-on-demand multimedia modules and content enable the students to view — and review — course materials at their convenience and allows Bahia and other instructors to use in-class time more effectively. “The lectures were then used as discussions, where a series of questions were provided for the students to answer,” says a former student. “Professor Bahia did a great job of involving everyone through his enthusiastic attitude. Based on the answers and questions he received from the students, he was able to determine which topics needed to be discussed more thoroughly. It was clear he had a positive impact on student learning.”

The new approach has increased students’ access to course materials, increased student laboratory achievement, decreased the time students need to complete laboratory work, and enhanced learning via small-group work. “Professor Bahia created an effective model that melds pedagogy and technology without forfeiting the key in-person teaching/learning element,” says Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor and Chair Jeffrey Russell. “Student evaluations underscore his success in implementing this model. As other faculty in the college create coursework with a web-based delivery component, his work can serve as a model for others to consider in their design process.”