C&ENVENG 3012 - Geotechnical Engineering Design III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

The course applies and extends the fundamental understanding of soil mechanics to the design of geotechnical engineering systems. The following topics are examined: site investigations and in situ testing; lateral earth pressures and retaining wall design; foundation design; loading induced stresses and displacements; bearing capacity of shallow foundations; design of shallow foundations; analysis and design of pile foundations; pavement design; and the stability of slopes.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code C&ENVENG 3012
    Course Geotechnical Engineering Design III
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites C&ENVENG 2069
    Restrictions Available to BE(Civil & Struct), BE (Honours) (Civil & Environmental), BE(Architectural) & associated double degree students only
    Assessment exams 60%, coursework 40%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Emeritus Professor Mark Jaksa

    Lecturers:  Prof. Mark Jaksa, Mr. Brendan Scott

    Design Sessions: Mr. Brendan Scott, Dr. Matthew Duthy, Dr. Issa Kousa, Irene Chung

    Practical Coordinator: Dr. Issa Kousa

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    A full timetable will be available to students through MyUni.

    Students need to enrol in the practical sessions.  Practicals are held in the Geotechnical Engineering Laboratories, Ground Floor, Engineering Annex. Schedules and group numbers will be posted on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Interpret and summarise desktop information to predict the expected soil and groundwater conditions prior to undertaking a site investigation;
    2 Demonstrate the ability to scope and plan site investigations that are feasible, cost effective and appropriately characterise the ground;
    3 Demonstrated ability to develop an idealised geotechnical model that summarises the ground profile and identifies and quantifies key parameters needed for design;
    4 Calculate lateral earth pressures, loading induced stresses and displacements, and bearing capacity of shallow foundations;
    5 Design retaining walls, foundations and pavements, and analyse the stability of slopes;
    6 Evaluate design options and specify final design recommendations based on factors such as sustainability, construction feasibility and cost effectiveness;
    7 Demonstrated ability to communicate designs visually using computer aided drawings;
    8 Measure soil properties in the laboratory and interpret and summarise the data.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5, 6, 8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Electronic copies of lecture notes and other relevant learning resources, such as copies of PowerPoint slides and recordings of lectures, will be made available to students, at no cost, via MyUni. 

    In addition, hard copies of lecture notes can be purchased from 'Image and Copy'.

    Recommended Resources
    Students are encouraged to purchase text books; they will be beneficial for this course (although not essential). 

    Recommended text books:

    Atkinson, J., The Mechanics of Soils and Foundations, 2nd ed., 2007, Spon Press.

    Knappett, J. A. and Craig, R. F., Craig's Soil Mechanics, 8th ed., 2012, Spon Press.

    Smith, I., Smith's Elements of Soil Mechanics, 9th ed., 2014, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to disseminate learning resources and information relevant to the course.  Online learning modules will be used to assist your preparation for laboratory experiments and these are available on MyUni.  In addition, the MyUni Discussion Boards and Gradebook will also be utilised in this course.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course involves the following teaching and learning approaches:

    Software and physical demonstrations
    Design sessions
    Practical classes


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Activity Contact Hours Independent Study Hours Total
    Lectures & interactive learning modules
    27 50 77
    Design Project reports (x3, formative) 12 40 52
    In-class problem set questions  6 12 18
    Practicals (x3, formative)
    3 9 12
    Assignments (x4, formative) 0 16 16
    Exam (x1, summative) 3 50 53
    Total 51 177 228

    Attendance at lectures, design sessions and practical classes is expected.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course examines the following topics:

    • site investigations and in situ testing;
    • lateral earth pressures and retaining wall design;
    • foundation design;
    • loading induced stresses and displacements;
    • bearing capacity of shallow foundations;
    • design of shallow foundations;
    • analysis and design of pile foundations;
    • pavement design; and
    • stability of slopes.
    A schedule of learning activities will be provided on MyUni.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Examination 60 Individual Summative Exam period Min 40% 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Design Project (3 phases) 20 Group Formative Refer to MyUni 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
    Practical reports (3 of) 10 Group Formative Two weeks after the lab session 8.
    Tutorial assignments (4 of) 10 Individual Formative Two weeks after being assigned 4. 5. 6.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The tutorials will be individual submissions, whereas the design and practical reports will be submitted as a group – one submission per group.  Students will be assigned to practical groups with up to 4 students in each group.  Students will be able to choose their own design project groups, but the total number of persons in each group should not be less than 5 and not greater than 6.

    Assessment Detail
    Further details of each assignment will be provided in lectures and via MyUni well before the due date.

    All tutorials must be submitted electronically on MyUni.  Design project and practical reports must be submitted in the course submission box in front of the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering Office (Eng. North N136) at or before 5pm on the nominated due date.  

    Late submissions will be penalised at the rate of 10% per day unless an extension was granted by the course coordinator prior to the nominated due date due to medical or extenuating circumstances.  Any requests for extensions must be communicated via email prior to the deadline.  No credit will be given for submissions received more than five working days after the nominated due date unless an extension was granted by the course coordinator.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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