Portable Hands-On Experiments in Geotechnical Education

Wolfgang Fellin, Barbara Schneider-Muntau*, Getraud Medicus, Division of Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering, Institute of Infrastructure, Department of Engineering Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria

An earlier version of this paper was awarded the IUT Poster Prize for 2015


This article focuses on portable, hands-on experiments in geotechnical engineering that serve as an entry point into the tutorials in Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at the University of Innsbruck. Ten small portable geotechnical experiments were developed to demonstrate geo-mechanical relations during class in a clear and comprehensible way. To determine the degree of student acceptance and possible learning benefits, the experiments were evaluated with a questionnaire. This evaluation showed that experiments in geo-mechanical engineering were well received and are appropriate visualization tools. The experiments were highly appreciated by the students, who reported that they helped to make the course material more comprehensible and clear.

Keywords: student engagement, STEM education, active learning

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