UC bridge building pivotal for students
07 October 2013
Today's bridge building competition at the University of Canterbury (UC) is important for students and for engineering businesses, a postgraduate engineering student says.
Today’s bridge building competition at the University of Canterbury (UC) is important for students and for engineering businesses, a postgraduate engineering student says.
Royce Liu, who took part in the annual competition two years ago, says the design, construction and the event plays a key role for student engineers getting better at their work.
"It gives students the chance to implement their technical knowledge and to see how that works in the real world; and also for students to learn lessons about managing their time, working in a team and thinking creatively.
"I don’t know exactly how many departing students work for engineering companies to build real bridges. But you can bet that the majority of students who have worked closely with Dr Alessandro Palermo will.
"When I finish my postgraduate studies and go into industry I plan to design bridges and also my classmate Chloe McKenzie is going to be working in the bridge engineering department at Opus Consulting.’’
Nearly 200 students and more than 30 teams took part in today’s bridge building event which promotes teamwork within each bridge building group and features prizes from industry. See preparation video here: http://youtu.be/MLvDjjfPPk0
Liu says this is important because, in practice, engineers rarely work alone on a project. It allows civil engineering students early on in their degree to exercise some design creativity and the event teaches students the importance of constructability. It is one of the few opportunities in the degree that students actually get to build what they design and so can ascertain the aspect of practicality in design.
"Students take the bridge building event seriously because the amount of effort and thought which the students put into their bridges is reflected by the finished bridge in its aesthetics and performance during the bridge competition.
"The critical issues which the students face are organising themselves so that they work cooperatively in a team; making a design that not only looks good but is constructible and carries the intended loads; and also managing their time efficiently so that they can design, analyse and build their bridges within the given time frame.
"The event helps students understand the significance of teamwork, time management and practicality in design. Before coming to UC, whenever I asked anyone in my home city of Wellington what university would be good for civil engineering, the response was always UC because the Civil and Natural Resources Department is well regarded nationally.
"It is amazing having experts like Professor Andy Buchanan, Associate Professor Stefano Pampanin and Dr Palermo as award-winning lecturers.’’
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