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Collaborative project unites diverse group of researchers

The Strength of Materials Virtual Lab Research Team has been busy during 2011-12 with a project that has linked the computer science, computer game design and development, media arts and engineering programs in order to enhance creative and collaborative learning experiences.


The team consists of Dr. Jon Preston of Computer Science and Software Engineering; Dr. Wasim Barham of Civil and Construction Engineering; Dr. James Werner of English, Technical Communications and Media Arts; computer science major Yu Feng and technical writing and communications major Nathan Atkins.


Together, team members created a computer game-based virtual strength of materials lab for civil engineering students.


During the spring semester, Dr. Preston presented a paper at the 2012 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The paper was titled, “Using digital games to improve access and learning.”


Dr. Werner presented a paper on “Art’s autonomy in new media collaborations” at the Virtual Extents: Practices of Research and Teaching in Contemporary Creative Arts Symposium at University College Falmouth in Cornwall, England.


In June, the team staged a half-day workshop, “Game-based virtual strength of materials laboratory for civil engineering students,” at the 2012 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference in San Antonio.


And finally, Dr. Barham presented a paper, “Using a virtual gaming environment in strength of materials laboratory,” in mid-June at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering in Clearwater, Fla.


For more information about the project, visit the Strength of Materials Virtual Laboratory website.