Transposing multimedia into a virtual course
The present paper describes the challenges posed by transposing a successful conventional course into an – hopefully – equally successful web-based course, with the name i-Structures. This work is under way as part of the Swiss Virtual Campus project. The i-Structures project team is composed of members from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the Swiss Italian University in Mendrisio and Lugano, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and the University of Applied Sciences in Manno. In addition to the use of text and illustrations, technical courses, in the present case engineering courses, often make use of some multimedia components, in the form of in-class demonstrations, videos and models. The idea behind the project proposed to the Swiss Virtual Campus in its second call for projects was to transpose this course into a web-based course that would offer both the teacher and the students more possibility for interaction with the phenomena and more freedom to consider complex problems. At the same time, the idea was to also extend this course to civil engineering students, who, in the process of being trained to use analytical method, often lose sight of the way structures work, and are often less creative in their approach to structural problems.