Multi-criteria decision making techniques in civil engineering education for sustainability

ABSTRACT

In recent times, a great deal of interest has emerged from different sectors of society towards sustainability and sustainable product design. Decision makers are increasingly encouraged to take into consideration the economic, environmental and social dimensions of reality when dealing with problems. Sustainability is of particular importance in the field of civil engineering, where structures are designed that are long lasting and shall cause significant impacts over a long period of time, such as bridges or dams. Consequently, when addressing a structural design, civil engineers shall account for the three dimensions of sustainability, which usually show conflicting perspectives. Multi-criteria methods allow the inclusion of non-monetary aspects into the design process of infrastructure. In the postgraduate course ‘Predictive and optimisation models for concrete structures’, offered at the Masters in Concrete Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de València, civil engineering students are taught how to apply such tools within the framework of sustainable design of concrete structures. The present paper conducts a state-of-the-art review of the main multi-criteria decision making methodologies taught in the course in the context of sustainability. Articles are searched in recognized databases, such as SCOPUS and Web of Science. The most significant methods, such as Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), Elimination and Choice Expressing Reality (ELECTRE), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) or Complex Proportional Assessment (COPRAS) are systematically discussed, identifying the actual trends concerning the use of such methodologies in the field of civil engineering. The review provides a deep insight in the multi criteria techniques that are most frequently used when assessing sustainability of infrastructure designs.

KEYWORDS

Postgraduate education; multi-criteria decision making; sustainability; structural design; state of the art review

REFERENCE

NAVARRO, I.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V. (2018). Multi-criteria decision making techniques in civil engineering education for sustainability. Proceedings of ICERI2018,the 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Seville (Spain), 12th-14th November 2018, pp. 9798-9807.  ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5

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Heuristics in engineering education. A case study application to sustainable bridge management systems

ABSTRACT

This paper deals with the postgraduate course ‘Predictive and optimisation models for concrete structures’, offered at the Masters in Concrete Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de València. Within this course, engineering students are introduced into different optimization algorithms, such as simulated annealing, neural networks, genetic algorithms, etc. of application in the automated design of concrete structures of any type. In recent times, such heuristic methods have turned out to be of great interest in the resolution of complex and actual engineering problems, such as the sustainable design and management of structures. This communication presents a case study where the ongoing research of the teaching body is applied so as to find the most sustainable management strategy for a particular bridge system consisting of 7 bridges whose lengths vary between 380 m and 1980 m. The optimization problem here aims to minimize both the economic and environmental life cycle impacts derived from the maintenance of the concrete decks of a bridge network by selecting the adequate maintenance intervals for every deck considering annual budgetary restrictions. A multi-objective simulated annealing algorithm is applied to find the set of Pareto optimal solutions for the presented engineering problem. The environmentally preferable maintenance strategy results in life cycle costs 4.9% greater than those related to the cost-optimal strategy, which in turn results in environmental impacts 5.6% greater than those from the environmentally optimized management option. Results are then compared to the optimal strategies considering a single bridge deck, showing that the optimality at the bridge level does not necessarily lead to a sustainable optimum at the network level. From this it follows that, when optimizing maintenance under budgetary restrictions, the network shall be analysed as a whole, and not as an aggregation of optimal strategies for each individual bridge. The case study presented here shows in a nutshell the close connection between the course curricula of the MSc course and the ongoing research of the teaching and research group.

KEYWORDS

Postgraduate education; applied research; heuristic algorithms; sustainable thinking; bridge management system

REFERENCE

NAVARRO, I.J.; YEPES, V.; MARTÍ, J.V. (2018). Heuristics in engineering education. A case study application to sustainable bridge management systems. Proceedings of ICERI2018,the 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Seville (Spain), 12th-14th November 2018, pp. 9788-9797.  ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5

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Correspondencia jerárquica entre las competencias y los resultados de aprendizaje

El mes pasado se desarrolló en la Universitat Politècnica de València el IV Congreso Nacional de Innovación Educativa y Docencia en Red. A parte de pertenecer al Comité Científico de dicho congreso. En este congreso, la mayor parte de las comunicaciones se presentan en formato póster y solo una pocas se presentan en comunicación oral. Ese ha sido el caso de la presentación oral que hice de una comunicación que presenté una propuesta jerárquica sobre las competencias y los resultados de aprendizaje. Esa comunicación es la que os dejo a continuación.

 

Para los que queráis tener acceso directo a todas las comunicaciones del congreso, podéis acceder a través del siguiente enlace: http://ocs.editorial.upv.es/index.php/INRED/INRED2018/schedConf/presentations

Resumen

El objetivo del artículo es establecer una estructuración de correspondencias jerárquicas entre las competencias y los resultados de aprendizaje de una asignatura. Para ello, tras comprobar las distintas interpretaciones que existen entre ambos conceptos, se opta por considerar que los resultados del aprendizaje son concreciones de las competencias para un determinado nivel y que son el resultado del proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje. Además, el necesario alineamiento entre los programas de una asignatura, la adquisición de competencias y resultados de aprendizaje y la evaluación del estudiante, aconseja jerarquizar los resultados de aprendizaje en dos niveles. Como resultado de lo anterior, se muestra la aplicabilidad de esta correspondencia jerárquica a dos asignaturas del Grado de Ingeniería Civil de la Universitat Politècnica de València: “Procedimientos de Construcción I y II”.

Palabras clave

Competencias, resultados de aprendizaje, correspondencia jerárquica, procedimientos de construcción, ingeniería civil.

Referencia

YEPES, V. (2018). Correspondencia jerárquica entre las competencias y los resultados de aprendizaje. El caso de “Procedimientos de Construcción”. Congreso Nacional de Innovación Educativa y Docencia en Red IN-RED 2018, Valencia, pp. 1-15. ISSN 2603-5863

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Licencia de Creative Commons
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.

Teaching infrastructure maintenance management through interdepartmental collaborations

Abstract:

Infrastructure comprises any facility that provides services of transportation, energy, water supply and housing. The ability to construct and properly maintain infrastructure systems is essential to ensure the economic development, competitiveness and productivity of nations. Thus, trillions of US dollars have been invested over the past decades to maintain the global infrastructure assets. Because of that, teaching infrastructure maintenance is increasingly a key issue in any university degree focused on civil engineering. In order to satisfy the demand from the construction industry, the School of Civil Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València has created a course entitled “Infrastructure Maintenance Management” in the fourth academic year of the B.Sc. in Civil Engineering. This transversal course has been created through an interdepartmental collaboration to train students about integrated maintenance management in each of the different type of infrastructure. The course is divided into general and specific modules. The general module has been defined to offer students the needed knowledge to face the technical specifications provided in the different specific modules associated with each type of infrastructure. Different training techniques have been used in this course focused on individual and collective learning techniques through case study scenarios, small group workshops and presentations, all of them supervised by experts. This course allows the students to be aware of the importance of infrastructure maintenance in order to make decisions regarding the identified needs and the resources available.

Keywords:

Interdepartmental collaborations, infrastructure maintenance, collective learning techniques, workshops.

 

Reference:

GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; MONTALBÁN-DOMINGO, A.; LOZANO, A.; PELLICER, E. (2018). Teaching infrastructure maintenance management through interdepartmental collaborations. Proceedings of INTED2018 Conference, 5th-7th March, Valencia, Spain, pp. 5802-5808. ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7

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Methodology to raise awareness of sustainable practices in public procurement of construction

Abstract:

Public procurement has the potential to influence the market in terms of sustainability. For this reason, public procurement in the construction industry is increasingly taking into account social and environmental criteria for awarding infrastructure projects. Universities should raise awareness among students promoting activities that foster sustainability. Therefore, this article proposes a methodology to study sustainable practices in public works procurement. Students assume a public role in order to select the key criteria to be included in the tender procedure. The aim of this research is to boost the awareness of students about the importance of the tender stage to achieve high levels of sustainability through the selection of the construction companies. Students choose the most important environmental and social criteria for a highway project. Besides, they propose an indicator and a metric for each criterion. This activity has been applied to graduate students of the Master of Planning and Management in Civil Engineer at the Universitat Politècnica de València. Students belong to more than 10 different countries of Europe and Central and South America. This active-learning method encourages future professionals to carry out sustainable practices in construction. In addition, this multicultural approach invites to share different points of view and sustainable practices from different countries.

Keywords:

Learning methodology, sustainable practices, multicultural approach, public procurement.

 

Reference:

MONTALBÁN-DOMINGO, L.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; LOZANO, A.; SANZ, A. (2018). Methodology to raise awareness of sustainable practices in public procurement of construction. Proceedings of INTED2018 Conference, 5th-7th March, Valencia, Spain, pp. 5910-5918. ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7

 

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Perception of civil engineering students about key criteria to assess sustainability

Abstract:

The construction industry has a severe impact on the environment and social well-being. Recent studies highlight construction industry as a key sector to address the sustainability and numerous engineering programs have been introducing sustainability into their academic curricula and syllabi. This article aims to assess the opinion of civil engineering students about the criteria which influence in the sustainable performance of construction projects. A questionnaire survey was defined to ask students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degrees about the importance of a range of criteria to assess the sustainability. A total of 355 questionnaires were answered by students at the Universitat Politècnica de València. Statistical analysis was carried out to identify significant differences between students according to their gender, age, nationality and intended area in civil engineering. The results of this research inform about the perception of civil engineering students about the sustainability and the key factors to achieve it.

Keywords: perception of sustainability, statistical analysis, key criteria, civil engineering.

Reference:

MONTALBÁN-DOMINGO, L.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; SANZ, A.; LOZANO, A. (2018). Perception of civil engineering students about key criteria to assess sustainability. Proceedings of INTED2018 Conference, 5th-7th March, Valencia, Spain, pp. 5880-5887. ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7

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Assessment of knowledge acquisition of “good practices” in project management and its influence in the achievement of project success

Abstract:

In addition to the technical knowledge acquired during the academic training, it is equally important to develop skills and attitudes demonstrated in a job, which can be a distinctive factor respect to other human resources of the company. Project management stands out among these distinctive competences, and it is a professional competence of great importance in any activity sector. This competence can be acquired in different University Schools, such as the Civil Engineering School (Universitat Politècnica de València). In this particular School, Project Management is taught as a part of the Business Management subject in the fourth year of Civil Engineering Degree, as well as Project Management subject in the Master of Science in Planning and Management in Civil Engineering. One of the objectives of these subjects is that students acquire the knowledge of “good practices” in project management, which are included in the guide of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). In order to detect the knowledge of the students in these good practices and its influence in the achievement of project success, questionnaires have been elaborated and distributed to the students at the beginning and at the end of the course of these two subjects. In this way, it is possible to compare the prior knowledge of the students and their progress once the management courses have been taken. Likewise, this communication highlights the differences between postgraduate and graduate students, as well as differences related to age, gender, nationality or previous qualifications.
Finally, the students’ preference for management in construction respect to other branches of civil engineering is also analyzed.

Keywords: knowledge acquisition, project management, distinctive competences, project success.

Reference:

LOZANO, A.; GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; MONTALBÁN-DOMINGO, L.; PELLICER, E. (2018). Assessment of knowledge acquisition of “good practices” in Project management and its influence in the achievement of Project success. Proceedings of INTED2018 Conference, 5th-7th March, Valencia, Spain, pp. 5762-5768. ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7

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Valoración de las herramientas y metodologías activas en el Grado en Ingeniería de Obras Públicas

Resumen: El cambio en la orientación del sistema de educación superior ha dado lugar a un modelo de enseñanza centrada en el aprendizaje del estudiante y la adquisición de habilidades. La comunicación presenta la valoración por parte de los alumnos de los recursos utilizados en la docencia de la “clase inversa”. Se ha diseñado un cuestionario para evaluar la metodología activa y herramientas utilizadas. De los resultados se destaca que la herramienta mejor valorada es Lessons, seguida de Recursos de Poliformat y diapositivas en pdf. Los vídeos de polimedia y los vídeos de procedimientos constructivos presentan poca desviación, indicando que todos los alumnos están de acuerdo con la utilidad de dichas tecnologías. También es importante destacar que no hay ningún alumno en desacuerdo con la metodología activa. En concreto, la corrección de entregables es la actividad más valorada en el proceso del aprendizaje.

Palabras clave: recursos tecnológicos, herramientas, metodología activa, clase inversa, cuestionario

Referencia:

GARCÍA-SEGURA, T.; MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V. (2017). Valoración de las herramientas y metodologías activas en el Grado en Ingeniería de Obras Públicas. Congreso Nacional de Innovación Educativa y de Docencia en Red IN-RED 2017, Valencia, 13 y 14 de julio de 2017, 9 pp.

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Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method

file.FeedFileLoaderAppraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method

Abstract:

Currently many university programs in the construction field do not take sustainability into account from a holistic viewpoint. This may cause a lack of sensitivity from future professionals concerning sustainability. Academics in construction must endeavor to instill a culture of sustainability in the curricula of their students. Therefore, this study proposes an active-learning method that allows graduate students in the construction field to take into consideration infrastructure sustainability from a variety of perspectives in a participatory process. The students applied an analytical hierarchical process to determine the appraisal degree of each criterion. A cluster statistical analysis was carried out, aiming to identify the profiles that influence decision-making. This method was applied to two classes of graduate students enrolled in the Master of Planning and Management in Civil Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València. This method identified a correlation between the profiles toward sustainability and the characteristics of the chosen infrastructure. It was also found that the method fulfills educational purposes: most of the students obtained more than 65% of the target learning outcomes. This approach promotes awareness and sensitivity to different points of view of the sustainability in a participatory context. It can be replicated in other contexts so as to obtain appraisals regarding various criteria that help enhance decision-making.

Highlights

  • Proposal of a method that allows students to consider infrastructure sustainability.
  • Participatory learning method that promotes integral sustainability.
  • Students profiles’ identification influencing decision making toward sustainability.
  • The profiles of evaluators influence the prioritization among alternatives.

Reference:

PELLICER, E.; SIERRA, L.A.; YEPES, V. (2016). Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method. Journal of Cleaner Production, 113:884-896. DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.11.010

Valoración de la competencia transversal Pensamiento Crítico por los alumnos de GIOP (2015)

2016-05-12 18.54.09RESUMEN: La Universitat Politècnica de València ha puesto en marcha el proyecto institucional para la acreditación de las competencias transversales de los estudiantes egresados de la UPV. Se han establecido trece competencias transversales que abarcan las del conjunto de las principales agencias acreditadas. Estas competencias se evalúan en las nuevas titulaciones de Grado, asignándose para ello distintas asignaturas troncales o de especialidad. La competencia transversal denominada “Pensamiento Crítico”, para nivel de dominio I, se adjudica a la asignatura Tipologías y Procedimientos de las Construcciones que se cursa en 2º curso. La presente comunicación muestra los resultados de la percepción que tienen los alumnos que cursan dicha asignatura respecto al pensamiento crítico basado en los fundamentos de las tipologías constructivas. Se ha elaborado para ello una encuesta anónima utilizando para su valoración una escala Likert con 11 preguntas. Se ha realizado un análisis factorial mediante el método de componentes principales y se ha propuesto un modelo de regresión múltiple para explicar las variables más importantes. Los resultados han permitido el diseño de actividades basadas en metodologías activas para la evaluación del Pensamiento Crítico.

Palabras clave: Pensamiento crítico; Competencias transversales; Actitud crítica; Emitir juicio; Opiniones argumentadas.

Referencia:

MARTÍ, J.V.; YEPES, V. (2016). Valoración de la competencia transversal “Pensamiento Crítico” por los alumnos de GIOP (2015). XIV Jornadas de Redes de Investigación en Docencia Universitaria. Investigación, innovación y enseñanza universitaria: enfoques pluridisciplinares. Universidad de Alicante, 1 de julio, pp. 2824-2840.

 

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