The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 12:11

Prof. Briaud at Texas A&M Launches Course on Geoengineering Case Histories

Introducing a great initiative by Prof. Briaud in academia community for making geo-engineering more appealing to students and to instill engineering judgement and big picture notion before they graduate.

Dear Colleagues,

I finished teaching a course on geo-engineering case histories and I would be glad to share the documents I used with you in case you are interested. I ran the course with one case history per week. Each week the first lecture (Monday) was dedicated to a background on the topic of the case history (foundation, wall, slope, tunnel, dam, levee, ...). The second lecture (Wednesday morning) was on the case history description and data. The weekly assignment consisted a cover letter, a budget for the work done, a professional looking report with no handwritten portion except for possible hand calculations in appendix. The students were invited to create their own company name and logo. The assignments were graded for appearance and professionalism (20%), for English writing (30%), and for technical content (50%). The first hour of the 2 hour design lab (Wednesday afternoon) was spent on returning the graded assignment and discussing the results of the assignment given on the previous week's case history and the second hour of the lab was to discuss the questions on the assignment for the following week case history. A total of 11 case histories were covered and the students were initially thinking that it would be an easy course because there was no final, but found out that the pace was grueling, yet the testimonies were very positive. My goal was to try to develop a sense of engineering judgement in the students which were a mix of undergraduate and graduate students. The assignments asked question more related to engineering decisions and big picture concerns rather than precise design calculations. The list of case histories is below.

1. Washington Monument (mat foundation)
2. Briaud's house (stiffened slab on grade on shrink swell soils)
3. Mexico City (foundation on soft soil)
4. Woodrow Wilson Bridge (bridge scour and pile foundation)
5. California levees (slope stability)
6. Teton Dam failure (internal erosion of dams)
7. New Orleans levees and Katrina (disaster management)
8. Seattle airport MSE wall (reinforced earth walls)
9. Rissa landslide (quick clay slope stability)
10. National Geotechnical Experimentation Site (geo-engineering instrumentation)
11. Eurotunnel (rock tunneling and mega projects management)

I plan to continue to teach this course every year (if the students show up) and will continue to accumulate documents and data on major case histories which I do not mind sharing with you in hope of making geo-engineering more appealing to our students and to instill a bit of engineering judgement and big picture notion before they graduate.

Best wishes, Jean-Louis.

Read 1004 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 17:19

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