Teaching digital transformation of the construction industry

January 21st, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Students of the Faculty of Computer Science at the Nuremberg Institute of Technology in Germany have come up with ideas to avoid many of the issues that lead to construction projects failing, failures which can cost taxpayers and the economy billions each year.

Prof. Peter Rausch at the institute’s department of Information Systems began teaching a course focused on interdisciplinary thinking, combining theory and practice, and developing social skills through teamwork. His course was based on the taxonomy of Benjamin S. Bloom, an educational psychologist.

The course integrated theory with practical experience.

The course integrated theory with practical experience.

First students were taught interdisciplinary knowledge, which they had to expand upon on their own. The theory was integrated with practice through a field excursion in which they got to work with a mobile GPS-based surveying device. Next, a problem was deliberately vaguely formulated around improving the efficiency of the construction industry by means of satellite-based systems, allowing students to specify the requirements of the solution in small, competing groups.

In coming up with solutions students contacted construction companies, collected information from professionals and interviewed experts from various sectors. Their solutions were presented to a jury of experts in the fields of civil engineering, computer sciences and information systems, who then questioned the students on their solution.

The winning group members were Tobias Neubig, Sebastian Schötteler, Sandor Senne and Andreas Zeh, who developed a prototype integrated sensor system for monitoring noise and dust emissions on construction sites, integrating it with construction machines’ performance data. The system can monitor environmental impact, with the data allowing for a systematic analyses of machinery performance, environmental conditions and site pollution so as to measure and reduce emissions. The solution can be further developed, and holds promise in helping set realistic emission limits.

Contact Peter Rausch, Nuremberg Institute of Technology, perausch@prof-rausch.de