Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science





First Advisor

Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu

Second Advisor

Benjamin W. Gleason


Structural analysis is a core course taught in every undergraduate civil engineering program and most architectural and construction engineering programs. Despite the critical role of this subject matter in engineering education, students usually have difficulty in grasping the abstract concepts, visualizing the deformed shape of simple structures, and relating basic structural members to more complex structural systems such as buildings and bridges. To help students to visualize the structural behaviors as well as linking structural representations with physical structures, a mobile augmented reality (AR) application, iStructAR, was developed. Through the application, a real campus building is superimposed with a virtual representation of the structure to demonstrate the concept of simply-supported beams. The application allows students to adjust the distributed load forces while observing the deflection shape of beams and reaction forces location and magnitude through the graphical representation of the building.

The AR application was piloted in a structural analysis course to assess whether a pedagogical approach involving AR technology is more effective than traditional lecture-based approach in learning structural analysis concepts. A quasi-experimental research design was performed, in which two sections of the course served as a control group (traditional lectures) and an experimental group (AR activity). Students’ learning was measured using pretest and posttest. No significant difference was found in the pretest-posttest score change of control group and experimental group, which indicates that AR approach is equivalently effective to traditional lecture-based approach in learning structural analysis. A survey was also deployed to measure students’ perceptions. The survey responses reported that most students held positive attitudes toward using AR to learn structural analysis. The students believed that the AR application was helpful for their learning and made learning more interesting.

Copyright Owner

Suhan Yao



File Format


File Size

82 pages