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Projects Updates for CEE Project Based Learning (PBL)

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  1. Update on CEE Project Based Learning Course

    The attached project list is being considered by the nearly 200 CEE first year students for the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Project Based Learning class this year. The project idea list had been formed over several years and was last updated on August 23, 2021.

    This year, the CEE project based learning course transitioned to a requirement for all incoming CEE students and a permanent part of the curriculum.  It has 188 students, meets 4-6 on Mondays and Wednesdays in 0035 CIF, and is still team-taught by CEE faculty with F&S assistance. There are also some online students and a mirrored course that Dr. Art Schmidt is teaching for a partner school in China via Zoom.

  2. possible irrigation locations

    For a class project, F&S reviewed the irrigation metering for the following buildings:

    • 303 Play Field Service Building
    • 374 Hartley Gardens
    • 1486 Grounds Garage
    • 100 President House
    • 1502 Softball Training Center
    • 1270 Eichelberger Locker Room

    Out of that list, buildings 374 and 100 are the only ones with irrigation meters. The water consumption for those irrigation meters is attached here.

  3. CEE PBL class project

    Per the executive summary report, "One goal of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. This is outlined in the Illinois Climate Action Plan, a proposal which also establishes a goal for annual solar energy generation. UIUC’s large energy demand poses an opportunity for implementing more cost-efficient renewable energy and increasing efficiency. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of a solar canopy system with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at a UIUC parking lot. The goal of this initiative was to reduce campus emissions, save money, and use parking lots as a place to create renewable energy."

  4. Committee meeting tomorrow

    This meeting is open to anyone on campus interested in supporting local pollinators.


    We are meeting tomorrow from 1:30-2:30 at F&S with both advisors and students from the Bee Campus USA committee.  Chantelle sent the invite, but there are more people than can fit in the room she sent, so please join us in the Garage and Car Pool building conference room.  This is in the building at the southwest corner of Oak and Kirby. 


    Our agenda is as follows:

    • Overview of the Bee Campus USA 2018 submitted plan (attached)
    • review the draft signage for small Bee Campus USA signs and proposed placement (attached)
    • discuss a student project related to future expansion of the Pollinatarium, with guest Namita Johri
    • review annual renewal requirements (see attached)


  5. Final project reports for Fall 2017

    The CEE 398 Project Based Learning and the Sustainability Minor's ENVS 492 Capstone students completed their nine fall 2017 reports.

    There were five projects completed for capstone partners:

    1. Energy Dashboards for Accenture
    2. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Johnson Controls
    3. Food Hub Study for The Land Connection
    4. Sensors and Green Buildings for CERL
    5. Biomass Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for Chip Energy

    There were four other projects completed by CEE students:

    1. Rain Garden Design
    2. Solar and Green Roofs Analysis
    3. Food Waste to Energy
    4. ADA Sidewalk Repair Cost Analysis
  6. Fall 2015 project proposals

    Associated Project(s): 

    There are six projects, as follows:

    1. Hot n Cold: This group is interested in reducing HVAC energy demand through review of occupancy rates for certain buildings.  They are still finalizing the buildings and methods for collecting the data, but it will likely include Newmark Civil Engineering Lab (NCEL) and measure occupancy, temperature, and energy usage. 
    2. Natural Gas for Campus Fleet: This group is interested in studying the potential to run campus vehicles using compressed natural gas obtained from the UC Sanitary District.
    3. Engineering Quad pathways: This group is seeking to study the pathways of students who do not use the Bardeen Quad paved paths.  They believe that the pathways on the Bardeen Quad are not optimal, and they plan to make recommendations for changes.  They will use a video recognition program per one of the engineering faculty, which will count the people during class change times. 
    4. Turf Field Water Fountains: This group believes we need additional drinking water fountains at the turf fields on campus.  They intend to focus on the health aspects of being hydrated and the high occupancy rates of the fields. 
    5. Arboretum rainwater irrigation: This group is interested in proposing a rainwater capture system for the Hartley Gardens. 
    6. Solar Pavement: This group would like to bring Solar Roadways technology to campus.  They plan to recommend a location for installing the solar roadway cells on campus, perhaps as a sidewalk near an engineering area.  They also intend to compare the traditional pavement plans on Green Street through the MCORE project to the Solar technology option.
  7. course description - previous project entry

    Associated Project(s): 

    Many students aren’t exposed to the broad and detailed aspects of CEE until a summer intern opportunity or it could be as late as their senior level course work. There is a great desire by faculty and among our students to bring more meaningful experiences, exploration, and context to CEE in the Freshman and Sophomore curricula. There have been recent changes to CEE195 to engage our entering student more into thinking about the different disciplines of CEE through invited speakers and selected case studies. CEE research and professional practices have traditionally been based on observation and then explanation through theoretical models. The goal of this new course would be an extension of the introductory CEE195 class with more emphasis on exploring CEE through presentations on current challenges and innovations in CEE, field trips to various area CEE infrastructure facilities giving students context about what civil engineers build, operate, and maintain, and sensing and experimental measurements of civil engineering quantities. A semester, team project will also be part of this new course which will be designed around providing students with several real problems facing the University of Illinois campus and allowing them to propose solutions. This project and experiment-based learning approach are integral to student connecting the importance of engineering fundamentals and experimental measurements and observations with solving future challenges in CEE.

    Course Vision

    The purpose of this course is to primarily give our freshman/sophomore level CEE students the opportunities to learn through hands on laboratory experimentation and field measurements, field trips to local infrastructure facilities, and lectures on current problems and innovative solutions facing civil and environmental engineering. Due to the many societal and infrastructure challenges in CEE, we want to motivate the next generation of engineers to solve these grand challenges, e.g., NAE Grand Challenges, through a project and experiment-based learning environment.

    Course Genesis

    The development of this course first began with a conversation with Dr. Jack Dempsey of F&S, who was interested in offering a campus-wide course to students of the challenges facing campus infrastructure especially as it relates to sustainability as well as F&S connecting faculty and students who could propose and possibly offer solutions to some of these challenges. After a few meetings, it was obvious that most of the topics in this course would be most applicable to civil and environmental engineers and it could find a permanent and thriving home in the CEE department, and be an excellent class for freshmen/sophomore level students.

    Course Objective

    This course will expose and instruct the students about the broad areas of CEE disciplines through lectures, experimental measurements, and field trips and link them with challenges facing the civil infrastructure on the University of Illinois campus and in the local community. This course is a follow up course to CEE195 to provide further insight into the practical application of multi-disciplinary civil engineering themes through lectures, project and experiment-based learning, and field trips. This course complements other key courses in the CEE department and will strengthen student’s idea of challenges in civil engineering to assist society and the environment, foster interdisciplinary work during the undergraduate experience. Collaboration with the University of Illinois Facilities and Services Division will further strengthen this class as a living, learning laboratory with relevant problems to solve, data to collect, measurements to make, and the need for interdisciplinary experts.

    Course Format and Implementation

    The long-term course goal is to provide a bridge class for freshman/sophomore students in CEE linking the introductory CEE195 class to the introductory courses in the various CEE specialty areas such as structures, transportation, materials, hydrology, sustainability, etc. This course will engage our undergraduate students during a sensitive time in their education in order to retain, inspire, and motivate (or even attract) them so that they can make a large impact on societal infrastructure challenges. It is anticipated that this course would become a permanent, required class for freshman/sophomores, i.e., CEE203 in the Fall 2015. This 2-hour course will be fully implemented over a 3-year period starting with limited enrollment in the Fall 2013 as a one hour class, a 2-hour restricted enrollment class in the Fall 2014 with the laboratory and field sensing/ measurements content being added, open enrollment in Fall 2015 for all CEE students, and mandatory enrollment in Fall 2016 for all CEE freshman or sophomore. A fixed number of class slots will be reserved for other engineering and campus disciplines to further broaden and promote the interdisciplinary nature of solving future CEE challenges. The following subsections provide a brief description of the course evolution.


  8. Final CEE 398 Fall 2014 reports

    • Evaluation of Implementing Low-Flow Toilets in University Buildings and Associated Economic and Environmental Benefits
    • Feasibility Study of Green Walls at the University of Illinois
    • Evaluating Greywater Usage at the BIF in Replacement for Potable Water in Toilets
    • Powering Up E-14: A Feasibility Study on Implementing Solar Panels as Parking Coverage
    • Feasibility of Introducing LEED Lab at the University of Illinois
  9. Strategic Instructional Improvement Program (SIIP) pre-proposal

    Associated Project(s): 

    The primary objective of this project-based learning course is to develop critical thinking and engineering problem solving skills by identifying and proposing solutions to current civil and/or environmental engineering problems facing the University of Illinois campus community. The class also includes several site visits to local engineering infrastructure facilities and multiple discussion driven case studies, which expose and deepen students understanding of current engineering facility operations and challenges. Additionally, students will understand more intimately what civil and environmental engineers do as well as the various fields of specialization and prepare them for opportunities for summer internships. Through working on a team project, reviewing other team projects, and receiving feedback from the course instructors, students will also develop necessary professional skills such as communication (written and oral) and project management. The course is primarily for sophomores and junior transfer students with a focus of engaging them into the broad spectra of challenges and contemporary issues in civil and environmental engineering, especially with regard to sustainability, design, and multi-disciplinary teamwork.

  10. message from Jack Dempsey

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Dempsey, John Garrett
    Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 11:01 AM
    To: Roesler, Jeffery Raphael; Mestre, Jose; Johnston, Morgan B; Schideman, Lance Charles; Schmidt, Arthur R; Liu, Liang Y; Somaratna, Jeevaka I
    Cc: Stratman, Allan; Andrechak, Michael J; Wise, Phyllis M; Adesida, Ilesanmi
    Subject: RE: CEE398

    I want to thank each of you for allowing me to be part of the first offering of CEE398. I have learned so much from each of you and developed an real appreciation for the work faculty do. I only wish I had made the connection between F&S and the academy earlier.

    Jeff’s presentation yesterday about the second offering this fall and the discussion surrounding it demonstrated just how far he has brought the concept in such a short time. There is no doubt that with Liang’s leadership, Jeff’s hard work, Al’s support and Morgan’s involvement this CEE initiative will continue to blossom. In fact, during a conversation with Ben McCall yesterday, it appears that what you have done is directly translatable to a course being developed by Prof. Madhu Khanna for iSEE. I have asked Morgan to introduce her to the team when appropriate.

    As my time here is short, I need to focus on some remaining projects so I will not be attending the bi-weekly course planning meeting, but leave you in Morgan’s capable hands.  Again, thanks for letting me be a part of this.