Laboratory experiences provide students with a clearer understanding of masonry construction, fundamental concepts of masonry design, familiarity with current field test methods, and an introduction to troubleshooting real-world problems. Few students are exposed to such testing procedures, because many universities do not have laboratory space or equipment for performing masonry testing.
A 2007 project at the University of Wyoming, cosponsored by Portland Cement Association (PCA) and other industry groups, addressed the study of masonry construction and testing. Other funding sources are Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute (RMMI) and National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).
Introducing students to construction materials familiarizes them with the properties of the materials and resulting systems. In learning about the system’s strengths and applications, students become familiar with these applications, a critical aspect of promoting of them. This project creates a legacy of masonry teaching resources for succeeding generations of educators and students.
Entitled “Enhancement of Masonry Curriculums through Virtual Laboratory Experiments,” this project’s primary objective was to create learning modules for masonry lab activities. These activities addressed the study of masonry construction and testing.
The completed modules enabled viewers to create a lab experience, either by replicating the laboratory experiments at facilities where space and time permit, or through using the virtual aspect of the laboratory modules.
A series of masonry modules with accompanying labs addressed (real-world) construction and (field) testing. Resulting teaching materials included:
- PowerPoint presentations to introduce a topic
- Video clips of discussion of testing
- Digital pictures and video clips of testing
- Material lists
- Sources for equipment
- Lab exercises
- Examples of sample lab reports for students to review