Education In the field stories

Sri Lanka: digital civil engineering field camp

During any normal year, some 150 future civil engineering undergraduates in Sri Lanka would spend about ten days surveying a real site for a given construction project. The annual field camp is a cornerstone of their education. But what if due to COVID-19, the event cannot take place physically? Correct answer: the field camp is converted to a digital format!

“Firstly, we used a drone to survey the chosen site. Based on these data, we created various tasks. Each task was assigned to a group of students exactly as would be the case during a physical field camp,” explains Dr. S. K. Navaratnarajah, (Nava for short), Senior Lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Peradeniya.

Each of the 24 groups would have their own designated Zoom link active from dawn till midnight. All work and all communication with the instructors, evaluators, camp coordinators, and the other groups would run over this link.