How Workshed is being used at Coventry University

(photo from the Red Window at Coventry Catherdral)

Dr Neil Tsang is a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Building at Coventry University, and uses Workshed as part of his teaching. He very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about how he uses Workshed with his students. (If you are using Workshed with your students, then drop why not share your experiences by replying to this post – we’d love to hear form you.)

[OB] On which of your taught courses do you use Workshed, and how?

[NT] I introduce Workshed to our 3rd year students in the structural mechanics module. Initially, the students were asked to try various components in Workshed. The students were told to review their weakness and to find which part of Workshed can help them to improve their understanding in those weak areas. Currently, we just use Workshed as a ‘backup’ facility for students to gain extra support in addition to our lectures. No formal assessment or evaluation has been done to gauge students’ learning from Workshed but it is our intension to do some assessment in the future.

[OB] What component of Workshed gets the best reaction from your students?

[NT] Two particular features are most welcome. Firstly, photos of the structures to show the actual construction before showing the idealized free body diagrams and video clips of lab tests. These facilities allow the students to visualize the representation of physical realities by analytical models. Secondly, the real-time response to moving load leading to better understanding of how a structure reacts to loadings.

[OB] What advice would you give other lecturers thinking of using Workshed in their teaching?

[NT] Workshed is most useful when we try to ‘teach’ our students the link between structural design and structural analysis. Workshed helps to fill some of the gaps.

[OB] How would you like to see Workshed develop?
[NT] I will suggest two areas: more video of lab tests to illustrate concepts; and facilities to allow students to build their own structures to be tested.