When construction management students at Colorado State University (CSU) students return to campus this semester, they’ll be preparing for a future in a competitive and ever-changing industry.
Assistant professor Mary Nobe explains that today’s construction “training is ultimately about preparing students for a workforce that increasingly demands management track employees understand not just construction but also technology and its role in making informed decisions.”
Nobe co-teaches a Construction Project Scheduling and Cost Control class (CON 461) that uses the same Asta Powerproject software used by more than 100,000 schedulers. The software evolved with the construction industry over the last 30 years to become the most intuitive tool for building CPM schedules, updating them, and making sound managerial decisions based on real-time progress data.
“We were using P6 before but we found Asta Powerproject so much easier for the students to learn and use right away. As a professor, that lets me spend more time on teaching the fundamentals of scheduling, not training on software.”
CSU students learn about lag, lead, float, critical path methodology, and how to build a CPM schedule in Asta Powerproject. They also learn how that schedule can help reduce risk.
“We show students how to use the schedule for documentation,” says Nobe. “It’s not just so they can show how it went wrong but also how they were able to fix it. It facilitates honest discussion around project progress.”
KEEPING STUDENTS ALIGNED WITH TECHNOLOGY
CSU’s Construction Management department head Mostafa Khattab explains that the 2015 switch to Asta Powerproject was based on the feedback received from faculty members and the department industry advisory board.
“There is no question that technology is impacting construction practices. One of our responsibilities in higher education is to increase the student’s awareness of such technology,” Khattab says.
Board members come from leadership positions in the region’s top construction firms and help to ensure that the CSU curriculum best prepares its graduates for the workforce. Many of the board members’ firms had already made the move to Asta Powerproject and found it a better fit for the way they work.
“Having a partnership with Asta Powerproject has been good for our program and for our students who get access to the professional tool at no cost,” says Khattab.
Elecosoft, maker of Asta Powerproject, provides free academic licenses to CSU so all construction students can install the fully functional version of the scheduling software on their own laptops or desktop computers. The academic licensing program for Asta Powerproject is an important part of the company’s commitment to the industry, says Jason Ruddle, managing director for Elecosoft.
“We’ve already seen the incredible impact that the professionalization of project scheduling has made on the industry,” says Ruddle. “And, we want to do our part to help ensure that the next generation is prepared for whatever tomorrow’s projects demand.”
Asta Powerproject BIM users can interact with a 3D model alongside their schedule. Clicking on a schedule task shows what the build will look like at that point. Conversely, clicking on a wall or other component in the BIM model highlights the associated task(s) in the schedule.
LESSONS FROM THE CLASSROOM AND BEYOND
CSU, like many other accredited universities, has adopted a curriculum that gives students the book smarts and the practical experience needed to succeed.
The school bolsters class work with opportunities for practical experience at mock project competitions versus teams from other universities. CSU teams regularly takes home top prizes at regional Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) events.
That well-rounded foundation is one of the reasons CSU boasts a nearly 100-percent placement rate for its students after college.
One soon-to-be graduate is Ty E. The epitome of the dedicated student, Ty takes full advantage of every opportunity to learn. Going into his final semester before graduating, he’d already used Asta Powerproject at most of the seven student competitions he had attended and would use it again at the two more events he planned to participate in during his final semester (a time many students would be tempted to coast).
“I love the real-world experience of the competitions,” says Ty. “It wraps up all the years of college into a couple of weeks.”
Ty, who hopes to land a job as an assistant construction superintendent says he would use Asta Powerproject to do 3-week look-aheads.
“The experience, both the competitions and with Asta Powerproject, has really given me a leg up. I’ll be able to go into a construction job and look at a CPM project schedule and know what I’m looking at, what has to happen, and when.”
That’s powerful knowledge that will serve Ty—and his future employer—well as he starts his career.
Asta Powerproject has become the construction industry standard throughout Europe and the rest of the world outside the United States since its initial development in 1988. It was introduced to the U.S. market in 2013. Both small and large companies including general contractors, subcontractors, civil engineering firms, owners, and professional advisors prefer Asta Powerproject. More than 100,000 schedulers worldwide rely on the software every day to create and update precise project schedules, collaborate across the enterprise, manage resources and costs, and report progress to owners and clients.
Asta Powerproject is a product of Elecosoft UK Ltd, which creates project, portfolio, and resource management software. The company operates in the U.K. from its offices in Oxfordshire and Shropshire and, in the U.S., uses a network of authorized distributors to supply, train, and support customers.
Elecosoft UK Ltd is part of Elecosoft plc, a group focused on software development and services for the architectural, engineering, and construction industry. More information about Elecosoft plc can be found at www.elecosoft.com. ■
For More Information
Free academic licensing is available for all accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. For more information, visit www.elecosoft.com/software/asta-powerproject-home/education-software-licences/ or contact a regional Asta Powerproject reseller. For more information, visit www.astapowerproject.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2017
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