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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.

Wed, 13 Apr 2005

April 13, 2005: A bit of history
John Baxley, an aerial photographer from Springfield, SC, has found a bit of Cooper River Bridge history. Almost every visit I make to the new bridge coincides with a cargo ship or tanker sliding along the Cooper River and under the bridge. During the transition from a web site for my grandchildren to what it is today, I remember reading some discussion about the islands that were built at the base of the east and west pylons. Specifically, these islands were designed to be sufficiently large in diameter to prevent a ship from colliding with the pylon.

As a relatively newcomer to Charleston (we moved from Chapel Hill in 1998), I am not aware of much of the history and stories surrounding the older members of the Cooper River Bridge family. Many of you have told me stories of family experiences with the bridge that bring a personal touch to my understanding. However, thinking about the earlier lives of the Cooper River Bridges never clicked until John sent me this photo of a collision in 1946. Clearly, historical information is as important to our web project as today's images. Another nice contribution to our project. Thanks, John. And a P.S. Tim Linder frequently contributes to our project and dramatically improved the quality of the original image. Thanks to you also, Tim. Another P.S. - Jim Bogle from Columbia remembers the story of the collision of the Nicaragua Victory and the Grace Bridge as told by his parents. According to him, the Army rigged a Bailey Bridge until repairs could be done. The opportunities for walking across the Grace Bridge as I build the story of the Unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges are rapidly disappearing. With input from Jim and John - I shall be much more attentive to the Grace structure and see if there are any residual signs of the collision.

posted at: 11:24 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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