Person with virtual reality headset
Conference

Preliminary Evaluation of Immersive and Collaborative Virtual Labs in a Structural Engineering Unit of Study

In the last three years, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sydney has been trialling the use of immersive virtual reality (IVR) in various engineering units of study. The focus of this paper is to present preliminary results of a study that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of immersive virtual reality (IVR) content in supporting student learning of key engineering concepts. Two research assistants independent of the teaching staff used event sampling to observe fourth-year structural engineering students exploring an IVR module during two structured IVR workshops. Inductive content analysis was employed to identify patterns and themes in the data which was collected during observations and to map the relation between observations and student interaction with IVR content. Preliminary results found that the IVR experience varied amongst students in both workshop sessions. The observers also noted limited student-to-student and student-to-teacher communication during the workshops, and inherent hardware and potential software design limitations. Students that verbally communicated with their peers were however generally able to keep pace with each other and complete activities at the same time. These students were more likely to communicate with the teacher in the classroom and less likely to utilise the services of the technical teaching assistants during the session. Furthermore, the practicalities, considerations, and potential improvements to the design of IVR modules and student workshops are discussed.

Read More »
Men carrying large logs
Conference

Community Participation in Post-Disaster Shelter Programs: Examining the Evolution of Participation in Planning, Design, and Construction

Participation in post-disaster shelter reconstruction is recognized as an important factor for supporting the sustainability and resiliency of the built environment. Engaging communities in the reconstruction process can help build community capacity and lead to sustained success of recovery projects. However, existing practice often assumes that differing forms of participation are independent of one another, neglecting to understand the influence that early participation may have on participation in later stages of the project. Past literature identified how communities participated in the planning, design, and construction phases in 19 different shelter projects following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. For this research, we used fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to analyze how participation in earlier phases of planning and design affected participation in the construction phase. Results show that early participation, particularly in the decisions of the planning phase, are critical in shaping later participation. Findings also reveal that participation is a process linked across multiple project phases and should not be viewed as a set of independent tasks. These results inform disaster recovery practice by encouraging project strategies that incorporate community participation from the beginning through the end of a project’s lifecycle.

Read More »
Timber posts laying on ground
Conference

Characterizing Post-Disaster Shelter Design and Material Selections: Lessons from Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines

Following a disaster, communities, governments, and organizations are required to make rapid decisions that will govern the path towards long-term recovery. Hazard-resistant shelter designs have long been heralded as necessary for facilitating resilient and sustainable reconstruction; however, there is sparse documentation of designs implemented. We examine the case of design and building material selection for 20 shelter projects following Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, using photo documentation, interview data and field observations as a means to document rates of design adoption and choices in material selection. Findings use the shelter cluster ‘8 Key Messages’ as a framework to assess level of improved shelter design. Results highlight improved foundations, roofing, building shape and site selection and identify deficits in structural elements, including connections, bracing, and joints. Findings quantify design features that saw poor uptake by organizations and hold potential to inform future practice that encourages hazard-resistant design in the Philippines and other future international disaster responses.

Read More »
Digital lines connecting
Conference

Building Coordination Capacity: Post-Disaster Organizational Twitter Networks

Effective coordination is essential for post-disaster reconstruction. Presently, however, there are relatively few tools to help organizations manage coordination and communication of post-disaster construction activities. Given the recent increase in use of social media platforms, we examine the use of Twitter following Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. A network of organizations in the infrastructure sector is created to capture the coordination structure, as depicted through social media, analyze organizational messaging and determine key actors. A content analysis of tweets further examined emergent themes in the distribution of information through Twitter. This network perspective lends insight into future applications of how organizations can leverage social media as a means of sustained coordination for long-term, on the ground efforts extending past initial emergency relief phases.

Read More »