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January 10, 2007 3:36 PM CST

Creating a Virtual Laboratory

By

Flat jack testing on Anthropology Building, University of Wyoming.
Flat jack testing on Anthropology Building, University of Wyoming.

Laboratory experiences provide students with a clearer understanding of masonry construction, fundamental concepts of masonry design, familiarity with current field test methods, and an introduction to troubleshooting real-world problems. Few students are exposed to such testing procedures, because many universities do not have the laboratory space or equipment for performing masonry testing.

A new project underway at the University of Wyoming, co-sponsored by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and other industry groups, will address the study of masonry construction and testing. Other funding sources include the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute (RMMI) and the National Concrete Masonry Association.

Introducing students to construction materials familiarizes them with the properties of the materials and resulting systems. In learning about the system's strengths and applications, students become familiar with these applications, which is a critical aspect of promoting them. This project creates a legacy of masonry teaching resources for succeeding generations of educators and students.

Entitled "Enhancement of Masonry Curriculums through Virtual Laboratory Experiments," this project's primary objective is to create learning modules for masonry lab activities. These activities will address the study of masonry construction and testing.

The completed modules will enable viewers to create a lab experience, either by replicating the laboratory experiments at facilities where space and time permit, or through using the virtual aspect of the laboratory modules.

A series of masonry modules with accompanying labs will address both real-world construction and field testing. Resulting teaching materials will include:

  • PowerPoint presentations to introduce a topic
  • Video clips of discussion of testing
  • Digital pictures and video clips of testing
  • Material lists
  • Sources for equipment
  • Lab exercises
  • Examples of sample lab reports for students to review.
With an expected completion date in mid-2007, the material will be accessible to masonry professors through The Masonry Society (TMS) and/or RMMI, as well as on a CD for distribution at events such as the Masonry Professors Workshop.

For additional information about the project, contact principal investigator Jennifer Tanner at the University of Wyoming at tannerj@uwyo.edu.


About the Author

he University of Wyoming serves as a statewide resource for accessible and affordable higher education of the highest quality; rigorous scholarship; technology transfer; economic and community development; and responsible stewardship of our cultural, historical, and natural resources. Learn more at www.uwyo.edu.

 

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