InSite Software Prepares Students for Real-Life Construction

Mon May 17, 2021 - National Edition
InSite Software

A student learns how to use InSite Software at Southern Utah University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all learning took place remotely.
A student learns how to use InSite Software at Southern Utah University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all learning took place remotely.
A student learns how to use InSite Software at Southern Utah University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all learning took place remotely. A screenshot of InSite Software’s elevation tool. InSite Software is a quick and easy earthworks take-off and modelling solution.

InSite Software's Elevation earthwork take-off and GPS modeling software is now part of the Southern Utah University (SUU) curriculum; its adoption is expected to better prepare students for the modern construction site.

The software is now being used in three courses that are taken by students in the university's Construction Management, Civil Engineering and Engineering Technology programs. InSite Software's design and features are a fit for the university's Estimating and Bidding course, which covers three important aspects of estimating and bidding:

  • Efficient calculations to perform quantity takeoffs
  • The theory, methods and quantitative tools used to estimate project costs effectively
  • The preparation of accurate bid proposals for construction projects

The software is taught in two other courses: Heavy Civil Construction Design Methods and Equipment, which addresses design practices, equipment, methods and construction management practices employed in heavy civil construction, and the final course, Capstone Project, which brings all of the knowledge and work of the senior student into a single culminating project.

"We implement project-based learning in our curriculum and regularly revise the course syllabi to match the industry and new technologies by adding more applications," said Mohamed Askar, CM Program, Department of Engineering and Technology, Southern Utah University.

"The university chose InSite Software because it is an integrated solution of earthwork and civil utility takeoff and GPS modeling tools."

Specifically, it is the software's ability to calculate and model cut and fill, stripping, strata quantities, paving and concrete materials, topsoil re-spread, areas and lengths, trench excavation and backfill, as well as its construction staking data and GPS models that were the main reasons the Department of Engineering and Technology chose the software.

Creating a Real-World Classroom Experience

The department added InSite Software to curriculum that began in September 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all instruction and learning was completed remotely.

Specifically, students worked in pairs to:

  • create a fake construction company,
  • bid on a fake proposed development project,
  • calculate all the quantities of the work items mentioned in the ITB (intention to bid) letter and on the InSite Elevation project drawings, and
  • prepare the project's bid form that includes the work items, quantities (from the software reports), unit price (by using HCSS Heavy Bid and RSMeans) and total price.

Although the InSite Elevation software is capable of calculating accurate quantities and automation, students were asked to perform work manually, so they would have a better understanding of reading models and selecting relevant data.

"I found some variances only when the students forgot to include some contours in their calculations," said Askar.

Askar said the use of InSite Elevation in the classroom has helped the students to identify, formulate and quickly and accurately solve application project problems; communicate effectively; and function effectively on teams.

Last autumn, students from SUU participated in a construction management competition at Brigham Young University. The SUU students used InSite software for take-off the quantities and for bid preparation. The sponsor, heavy civil contractor W. W. Clyde, asked them about the software. The sponsors were very impressed by the students' performance and knowledge.

The courses that teach the software are taken by students in their final year and the first students to use InSite Elevation graduated in December. At which time they will enter the labor force and put their technological skills into use.

"The software solutions give the students the tools required to solve heavy civil project problems with accurate and fast figures," said Askar. "After implementing the software, the student learning outcomes have been increased and outcomes have been achieved more efficiently."

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