ACI (American Concrete Institute) has very interesting system that engage teams to solve unimaginable solutions from the student perspective (EPD Competition). It is being ruled/run/governed by ACI Committee S802, which I also help them with to solve some conflicting requirements in 2012 of Shear Vs Longitudinal Reinforcement considerations. I think ASCE has the bridge competition too!
Those activities "Competitive-Based Learning" ...
''Competition Based Learning" is essentially project-based learning, still involving teams of students in an open-ended assignment resembling a scaled down version of a problem they may encounter in their career; the added twist is accounting for the performance of the resulting specimen during final project testing with respect to other groups in the course. The hope is to generate motivation in the students to have the best overall project and eliminate the tendency of just doing enough to get by. This paper highlights the use of a project similar to the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Egg Protection Device (EPD) Competition in lieu of a traditional laboratory format in a Reinforced Concrete Design course. The project includes design, analysis, and laboratory components and eliminates the two primary downfalls of a traditional laboratory course by using teams of two students and minimizing the amount of information given on the front end. While some students do make solid efforts to learn on their own, there have been very few that have successfully mastered the complexity of that calculation, considering the number of unknowns and the support configurations of the EPD. Competition Based Learning- Dr. Chris Carroll, University of Louisiana.
Paper ID #6233 Competition Based Learning in the Classroom Dr. Chris Carroll, University of Louisiana, Lafayette Dr. Carroll is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His primary area of expertise is in reinforced and prestressed concrete. He also has an interest in engineering education at both the college and K-12 levels. Dr. Carroll serves as a voting member on ACI Committee S802 - Teaching Methods and Educational Materials and is a consulting member to the ASCE Pre-College Outreach Committee. He is also actively involved with engineering outreach at the K-12 level. c American Society for Engineering Education, 2013 Page 23.313.1
Competition Based Learning in the Classroom Introduction Traditional engineering courses at most universities have been taught for decades with a 3-hour lecture format, usually meeting for either three 50-minute lectures, or two 75-minute lectures each week. In both formats, the course is generally taught with passive, abstract (theoretical), verbal, and sequential teaching styles, in other words, the instructor presents the material with little time for experimentation or reflection, generally spending a significant amount of class time discussing theory, using chalk or dry erase markers and other forms of verbal communication, in a very step-by-step progression, where preceding topics are built upon throughout the duration of the course. Engineering education researchers have shown these styles of teaching to contradict the learning styles of most engineering students, who are generally active, sensory, visual, and sequential learners . As a result, the awareness in the engineering community has risen in recent years and a number of techniques have been introduced to help instructors tailor their courses to incorporate most, if not all learning styles of the students. Within the past decade, a push for learner-centered teaching environments  has become more and more prevalent throughout all of academia. Learner-centered teaching approaches encourage instructors to relent some control of their respective courses, allowing students the opportunity to be more interactive during class. It can be intimidating to both young and experienced instructors, who likely took those traditional engineering lecture-based courses during their education. In the modern classroom, instructors familiar with some of the newer techniques are now more likely to use a quick, in-class problem, or a three-dimensional figure, or a prop, spend less time on theoretical discussion and more time on application, and attempt to showcase the end goal prior to beginning the step-by-step process of presenting the material. In addition to the subtle changes an instructor can make in class, a number of other options exist taking the learner-centered teaching approach to another level. The most common methods are problem and project-based learning techniques. Both provide more open-ended types of experiences for students, but also require more upfront organization from the instructor. Problem-based learning exercises are generally open-ended, real-world problems worked out in teams where the instructor simply facilitates and monitors progress. Project-based learning exercises are similar, but usually include more than one task that leads to a final product, also worked out in teams . In most cases project-based learning exercises are lengthier and are evaluated by some form of a final report. In the traditional civil engineering curriculum, undergraduate students take courses with both lecture and laboratory formats. While the lecture courses provide the opportunity for students to absorb new information, the purpose of a laboratory is to expose students to the physical problems associated with a course and reinforce course content. The traditional type of laboratory has well-planned experiments, typically containing step-by-step guides leading the students through each experiment. Generally in groups of four or five, students in-turn conduct the experiment, regurgitate the results, and prepare a laboratory report, arguably fulfilling ABET student outcome (b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data. It is possible, however, that these cookie cutter laboratory experiments, in fact, Page 23.313.2
------------------------------Andre Newinski S.E., A.M.ASCEEngenheiro EstruturalANSanto Angelo------------------------------
Creativity is the key Mitchell!!!
Using philosophy can give you direction in order to find the path to the best solution!
I think "thinking" is relevant, but also intuition will play a major role in reinvent the wheel!
SEI President Glenn Bell on the Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering
Glenn Bell is about inspiration! please see it (23 minutes). We need to act and stop to use building codes that are extensive in prescription, because if it is combined with A.I and Automation it can threat & compromise the SE Profession! So we need to think for Engineers to exist in the Future. Put the Human mind and value behind the machine. We do not must follow protocols, but this would be a new enlightenment to a better future (use imagination)!
If you work with Structural Art you might consider to test every structure in a "real scale" before it's final existence and empirically adapt next models to best performance possible while it can certainly enable evolution of your work trigged by creativity and some potential ideas. Robert Maillart (16 February 1872 – 5 April 1940) was a Swiss civil engineer who revolutionized the use of structural reinforced concrete with such designs ... and a fair example of what I am saying (progressivism)! There is Jörg Schlaich also in the area!
*It would require to be less dependent of prescriptive materials in my view and try to incorporate some performance objectives, it's kind of doing and testing, experimental experiences - this is very enthusiastic mode while solving for the ill-structured problems that we have in the world today. All it requires is out-of-box thinking, and innovation some times but essentially human values and Art at the Core...
One of my favorites philosophies to approach problem solve is progressivism!
This video show how it apply in the early time students!
" Your ideas, Tested in the World! "
PROGRESSIVISM in Education - Philosophical Foundations of Education
I am a also a Visual Learner ...so it is expected to see some vibrant material in next post too!! :)