AUdapting: Building Science Brings Campus to Students’ Homes
In March 2020, when COVID-19 hit, Auburn’s fourth-year building construction students were completing co-operative learning experiences at construction sites all over the United States. Their spring co-op experience was cut short, and they were suddenly faced with the challenge of completing their final thesis remotely. “Thesis is a high-demand, all-encompassing final senior project each student completes individually,” said Assistant Professor Lauren Redden. Redden and other BSCI faculty were quick to realize that most students didn’t have the hardware or software they would need to successfully execute their thesis work.
Since the BSCI students couldn’t come to campus, faculty decided to take the campus to them. At the Miller Gorrie Center, where the McWhorter School of Building Science is housed, the thesis room is equipped with computers that have sophisticated industry-relevant software students need to complete their work. BSCI faculty and staff devised a plan to loan each student the necessary equipment from the thesis room, including a desktop PC tower, two monitors, a keyboard and a mouse. “Having these tools ensures that all students are on a level playing field and are set up from day one to succeed,” said Redden.
Thirty-eight of the 46 enrolled thesis students decided to take the school up on its offer. BSCI staff members Angie White, Brandon Clarke and David Royer quickly got the equipment boxed up and ready to go. Students were given the option of having their technology packages shipped directly to their homes or picking them up at the Gorrie Center. Those who came to campus were provided with the appropriate PPE and asked to follow CDC protocols. BSCI thesis students will be able to count on the remote support of BSCI faculty and staff as they complete their thesis in preparation for review by a faculty jury, with the goal of graduating in August.