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Teaching Students How to Evaluate the Reasonableness of Structural Analysis Results | Journal of Civil Engineering Education


Junior engineers are increasingly placing blind trust in computer generated structural analysis results, but the evaluation skills used by experienced engineers must have been learned at some point. Therefore, this study investigated whether evaluation skills in the categories of fundamental principles, features of the solution, and approximations could be effectively taught at the undergraduate level. Incorporating explicit training on these skills and requiring their use on example problems, homework problems, and exams significantly increased students’ ability to identify the most reasonable result and to justify that the result is reasonable. Incidentally, the students also carried these skills to later courses in other subdisciplines of civil engineering, even though those instructors did not teach or require their use.

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