May 6, 2020

New online courses from Purdue designed to enhance skills in steel and concrete composite design and construction

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — State-of-the-art methods in steel and concrete composite construction are the focus of a new series of online courses from Purdue University’s top-ranked Lyles School of Civil Engineering. The courses are for working engineers and technical professionals looking to update their skills and log professional development hours, as well as for graduate students.

Suitable for working engineers and technical professionals looking to update their skills and log professional development hours, and for graduate students, the graduate-level courses cover such topics as the direct analysis design method and composite plate shear walls.

“Anybody who has completed an undergraduate degree in civil engineering would benefit from taking these courses,” said Amit Varma, Purdue's Karl H. Kettelhut Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Bowen Laboratory of Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research.

The courses, designed by Varma, each last eight weeks. Through hands-on learning grounded in case studies and experimental observations and analysis, the courses aim to prepare participants to apply the methods in their own practices.

“These are definitely application-oriented design courses that have application almost immediately,” Varma said. “We use a simple but effective approach to teaching with emphasis on gaining hands-on experience and developing useful tools for practitioners.”

In addition to faculty from Purdue’s civil engineering school – the fifth-ranked undergraduate program and sixth-ranked graduate program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report – the courses incorporate prominent practicing engineers who provide additional context for the course content and applications.

Each of the one-credit-hour courses can be taken individually. Students who complete all three are eligible for a Purdue “Steel Designer” digital badge. The first course will be available in May with the second and third to follow in August and October. For more information, visit

The courses cover:

Introduction to the direct analysis method for design, a part of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Specification, Chapter C. The course will explain the transition from the old effective length (K-factor ) method to the new direct analysis method. Students will gain an understanding of direct analysis and the ability to use it in a variety of situations.

Introduction to the behavior and design of composite steel members with emphasis on composite beams (full and partially composite), composite columns (filled and encased steel), and composite plate shear walls (the current state of the art).

Introduction to the stability and design of steel members subjected to combined force demands with emphasis on in-plane stability and out-of-plane stability of steel beam-columns. Students who complete this course should enhance their ability to design steel structures and members subjected to individual and combined forces by gaining a fundamental understanding of the structures’ behavior.

About Purdue University

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Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167, 

Source: Amit Varma, 765-496-3419, 

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