Even though construction in the Philadelphia Region has resumed in-person for over 3 months now, those studying to work in construction, engineering, and architecture, are increasingly spending time online. Many instructors are still finding methods to connect with students, and students are learning to collaborate virtually for projects – perhaps similarly to how many ACE industry companies are operating right now.
Engineering News-Record took a look at several post-secondary institutions’ approach to new academic year, including Drexel University’s Construction Management Program.
Many schools are starting the year fully online. Noting “the shifting nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on other colleges and universities,” Drexel University President John Fry said it will remain online when its fall semester begins in late September.
Christine Fiori, head of the Philadelphia-based school’s construction, engineering and project management and systems engineering department, says professors had already prepared backup online syllabi for courses, and that at the urging of industry, the school experimented with offering online classes prior to COVID-19.
In some classes, faculty found solutions, such as mailing kits of design class materials to freshman students. Still, the school is grappling with how to conduct other classes, particularly labs. “How do we give students the feeling of pouring concrete? How do we have them break steel? We’re trying it and we will see how the students respond. Those hands-on classes are tough,” says Fiori.