Incorporation of Computer Simulations into Teaching Linear Scheduling Techniques

by Eric Forcael, (corresponding author), Assistant Professor; Dept. de Ingeniería Civil, Univ. del Bío-Bío, Avenida Collao 1202, Concepción, Chile.,,
Charles R. Glagola, (M.ASCE), Associate Professor; Dept. of Civil and Coastal Engineering, Univ. of Florida, 460-C Weil Hall, Gainesville, FL.,,
Vicente González, Lecturer; Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.,,

Serial Information: Issue 1, Pg. 21-30

Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: This paper presents the results of a study that incorporates computer simulations in teaching linear scheduling concepts and techniques, in a civil engineering course, Construction Planning and Scheduling. The effect of the use of computer simulations in the course shows that the students who were taught with simulation gained a better understanding of linear scheduling concepts and techniques than those students taught without simulation. The data and analysis leading to this finding are presented and discussed in this paper. Two groups of students were considered in this research: (1) civil engineering students from the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida and (2) civil engineering students from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Chile. Each group was randomly separated into two subgroups: one subgroup was taught by using the traditional method of linear scheduling (without the use of computer simulation) and the other subgroup was taught by using simulations. At the end of the teaching period, the students in both subgroups answered an objective test-type questionnaire specifically designed to address their understanding of linear scheduling techniques. They were also required, in a more subjective way, to provide their evaluation of the teaching method involved. To assess the effect of incorporating computer simulation in teaching linear scheduling, the students' evaluations and answers to the questionnaire were statistically compared. The analysis of the responses showed significant differences between the students' understanding of the subject by using the two teaching methods, with the use of computer simulation shown to be a more effective teaching tool for linear scheduling techniques.

Subject Headings: Computer models | Scheduling | Linear functions | Students | Linear analysis | Construction methods | Engineering education |

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