Course Design & GCT

As part of the curriculum enhancement effort for this project, the existing Geotechnical Engineering course at UNC Charlotte (CEGR 3278) was organized into the four content modules listed in the following table. These content modules and their supporting lectures were designed so that they could be taught using a more conventional lecture delivery method without the GCT during Semester 1 and Semester 2, followed by the implementation of the Geotechnical Concept Tools (GCT) into the course during Semester 3 and Semester 4. The material essentially remains the same, but the delivery methods were adjusted to accommodate various learning styles. Some GCT were distributed directly to the students as visuals that they were able to touch and evaluate on their own. Other GCT were larger in scale offering three-dimensional models utilized as part of a brief classroom demonstration designed to accentuate important concepts. The remaining GCT involved interactive and engaging classroom activities that promoted a student-centered atmosphere inside the classroom. Many of these tools, models, and activities were designed to replace the dull sketches drawn on the board and conventional one-way communication methods. Because most of the GCT served as classroom visuals or replaced a delivery method utilized prior to this study, there was very little (if any) additional time required to implement these changes during Semester 3 and Semester 4. Details regarding the GCT listed in the following table are accessed through the links below.


 Course Module   Geotechnical Concepts Tool
Soil Structure   







Site Investigation and Sampling Methods    

Boring Logs and Soil Profiles

Phase Diagram Relationships

Soil and Gradation Types

Active Clay Minerals

Particle – Particle Interaction

Soil Type versus Compaction Process

Soil Seepage  & Effective  Stress 1D Seepage Fundamentals  

 2D Flow Box

3D Soil Stress Cubes

Effective Stress

 Consolidation Classic Spring Analogy 

Boundary Conditions

Shear Strength Shear Strength versus Normal Stress 


Triaxial Testing

UU Triaxial Failure Curve

Lateral Earth Pressure ‘States’

Lateral Earth Pressure Diagrams

Slope Stability Failures