Disciplinary diversity in the development of geotechnical engineering undergraduate education materials

Arthur Ornelas, Sandra Houston, Wilhelmina Savenye, Claudia Zapata, Eddy F. Ramirez, Allen Corral

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


A team of geotechnical engineering faculty and students and educational technology faculty and students worked together to develop, pilot test, and disseminate learning materials in unsaturated soils for undergraduate geotechnical engineering courses. The eventual goal of the team is the institutionalization of this learning material. The geotechnical engineers served as the subject matter experts and were the primary resource for the content. The educational technology team members' primary responsibilities were the development of materials and evaluation of the material's effectiveness. Faculty resistance to change was another issue addressed. The educational technology team members assisted with the flexibility and seamlessness of the material into current undergraduate geotechnical engineering classes, thus lessening the resistance. This paper will emphasize challenges encountered in working with those outside of their own field of expertise, in this case, the interdisciplinary design team. Qualitative data in the form of notes, design logs, and surveys and interviews will show the challenge of learning new curriculum (educational technology) and/or methods (geotechnical engineers). Learning new material without the background knowledge and dealing with unfamiliar research methods and regulations are dominant themes. In the development of the curriculum material, established guidelines were followed. When a diverse team from different backgrounds is involved, it may benefit the team if some additional steps are taken at the initial stages. One major recommendation is that the team establishes roles and expectations for each member early on and leaning objectives for the learning materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIFCEE 2015 - Proceedings of the International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015
EditorsJ. Brian Anderson, Magued Iskander, Muhannad T. Suleiman, Debra F. Laefer
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780784479087
StatePublished - 2015
EventInternational Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015, IFCEE 2015 - San Antonio, United States
Duration: Mar 17 2015Mar 21 2015

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
VolumeGSP 256
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


OtherInternational Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015, IFCEE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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