Watch the Construction of the new Cooper River Bridge


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The Bridge Blog
A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages

Overview. As a pointy-headed university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity chasing and learning.

Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and consequently generated many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions. Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often only a Google-search away - (see Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became dependable extensions of my memory.

The bridge story is a work in progress and is evolving from a simple collections of photographs to an experiment with Internet-centric just-in-time learning. Insights I gain from you will find their way into the learning centers of MUSC. Palmetto Bridge Constructors, a joint venture between Tidewater Skanska and Flatiron Constructors, as well as High Steel Structures, Freyssinet, the SCDOT and the Federal Highway Commission Office of Bridge Technology guided much of my learning. I also learn from many of you and from Google-linked resources. More important is the e-mail encouragement I receive from many of you.

Fri, 25 Feb 2005

February 25, 2005: Time for another reorganization
It has come time to separate my one way dialog (more like a web log or blog) into a separate section. Matthew, Brian, Satya and Christopher, my IT Lab brain trust, are pushing for a major reorganization along the lines of a Blog. They assert, probably correctly, that all my text sometimes gets in the way of my story. I have started experimenting with rebuilding the bridge story with Blosxom, a blog (and a preliminary view will be available soon). I am also exporing placing all the images in a database, with a separate tag field so that you could pull back all images with the same tags. I am thinking that providing a search facility will help some of you since I have little insight into the ways many of you wish to explore this story.

posted at: 18:23 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Thu, 17 Feb 2005

February 17, 2005: A request for help.
Now that the bridge is nearing completion, I am thinking about what to do with these web pages - and perhaps how to better package elements of this story. There are three ways to go about this:

  • I can assume I have all the knowledge and do it myself
  • I can appoint a committee and develop guidelines - following a sort of proprietary development strategy
  • I can use the communicative power of the Internet and manage our affairs with an open forum where we all are enabled to contribute to this concept

My explorations with Internet-centric learning and using the communicative power of the Internet to engage anyone has demonstrated to me the utility of open development - whether software or these bridge pages. My brain trust (the MUSC IT Lab) is pushing me to rebuild the pages using a Blog or something similar to a wikipedia to facilitate organization and navigation between story segments. Jim Abrahamson, friend of mine in Chapel Hill, suggested that I build a photo essay around the people that I have encountered during this adventure - and title it: The Living Bridge. After all, this comissioned composition for steel, concrete, bolts, surface treatment, cables, etc did not just happen, but required real people to do the work. PBC, SCDOT, High Steel Structures and Freyssinet have provided me with unique opportunities to watch (and photograph) their folks as they created the new Cooper River Bridge. I would like to know your thoughts. What would be interesting to you? What would be a useful way to package what we have jointly built over the past 18 months. How can I (we) use this opportunity to ignite the curiosity of younger learners? Send me your thoughts and ideas by email and tell me what would bring you and your friends and family back to this site? Can these web pages continue to evolve beyond the date of bridge completion, developing new life that continues to bring weekly or monthly something new? As you know, this has been an experiment with what I call Internet-centric learning and I have already learned more from you than I would have imagined (and the "you" is an international "you"). I am hooked on finding a way to continue the experiment and then transfering what I learn to the MUSC learning environment.

posted at: 17:21 | path: | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 13 Feb 2005

Feb 13, 2005: Feeling the construction process.
For the past few weeks, I have been following Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team - more like a musical ensemble and a conductor. As I watched, I came to know several of his guys and my story began to change from a technical photo essay to a more personal photo essay. Just as I have been learning from Bill Mankin (High Steel Structures), David Wertz (SCDOT) and Marvin Tallent (QA/QC PBC), there is more to sculpting a bridge and doing it with excellence and beauty than simply assembling pieces of a tinker toy set. As the bridge construction winds down, I want to bring more of the people side of the story to these photo essays.

posted at: 10:00 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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