Title: A collaborative virtual environment for problem solving in civil engineering

Authors: Patricia C. Souza, Marta C. Rosatelli, Raul S. Wazlawick

Addresses: Department of Computer Science, Candido Rondon College, Av. Beira Rio, 3001, Jd. Europa, Cuiaba-MT, 78065-780, Brazil. Graduate Program in Informatics, Catholic University of Santos, R.Dr. Carvalho de Mendonca, 144/505, Vila Mathias, Santos-SP, 11070-906, Brazil. Department of Computing and Statistics, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Cx.P.476, Florianopolis-SC, 88040-900, Brazil

Abstract: This paper presents a collaborative virtual environment for problem solving in civil engineering, which represents a building with problems related to its structural design (e.g. fissures). In this environment, the students play the role of civil engineers. They need to detect the structural problems and evaluate their causes in order to be able to solve them. To accomplish this, the students can act upon the structural elements included in the environment (e.g. pillars) or make use of the working tools that are available (e.g. tape measure). This distributed environment allows for the exploration of the possibility of student collaboration in virtual reality. Furthermore, its design intends to provide a way to implement problem solving in collaborative environments in which genuine interdependence occurs i.e. team members must have different knowledge or abilities in order to create genuine collaboration.

Keywords: collaborative virtual environments; virtual reality; genuine interdependence; problem solving; civil engineering; structural design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2002.002146

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2002 Vol.12 No.5/6, pp.472-484

Published online: 13 Dec 2003 *

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