Course Syllabus


Tripp Shealy, Ph.D. 

113 Patton Hall

Office Hours: M W 1pm- 4pm or by appointment:


M, W: 4pm-5:15pm

Students may leave if the guest lecturer or I have not arrived after 5 minutes.

Syllabus Content:

  1. Description
  2. Goals
  3. Learning Objectives 
  4. Expectations
  5. Logistics
  6. Academic Integrity
  7. Disability Accommodations
  8. Course Grading

Course Description

Students will learn to leverage technologies and data related to the operation of infrastructure systems to better meet societal needs. The course begins with why smart sustainable infrastructure is needed and outlines both barriers and concepts for a more sustainable future. Students explore cutting-edge technologies for design and construction. Students will learn basic data science techniques and practice with large, real-world existing infrastructure data. The course also offers students an opportunity to explore a specific topic related to smart sustainable infrastructure more deeply through an individual project.  


The goal is for students to leverage technologies and data to create more sustainable infrastructure systems that better meet societal needs now and in the future.

Learning Objectives 

  1. Understand current obstacles and the role of technologies and data related to infrastructure to achieve a sustainable future;
  2. Explain concepts, theories, and methods to achieve more sustainable infrastructure with technology and data;
  3. Design a process using appropriate technology to gain feedback during design, construction, and operation of infrastructure systems and services;
  4. Interpret data about existing infrastructure performance and problems;
  5. Develop skills for continued learning about smart sustainable infrastructure.


Smart typically denotes physical assets connected to the Internet through sensors (smart parking meters, smart streetlights, smart water use) but the expectation here is for you to go beyond sensors and think more holistically about how technology and data can inform more sustainable engineering decisions during the design, construction, and operation of infrastructure systems.

General Expectations

I promise to engage with activities that let me: connect learning to my world, see and share what’s around me, challenge myself and others, reflect on my learning, and create positive change.

I promise to continuously contribute information in multiple forms so that the learning outcomes are achieved. The more I contribute, the faster the positive evolution of the specialization.

I promise to use Google as a favor to each other (and to myself). I will Google my ideas and obstacles, and I will Google for more information on specific topics. I won’t ask a question before Googling it. If I don’t find the answer, at least I will have a better question.

I promise to share my perspective so that I’m not just consuming knowledge, I’m also helping to create it.


Discussion Posts

Posts to canvas should be less than 100 words; bulleted lists are ok; use a tone and level of professionalism you would use in an e-mail to a co-worker; Try to make the biggest statement with the fewest words. Mark Twain once began a letter apologizing for its length because he didn't have enough time to make it shorter. Late discussion posts will not be accepted. 


Assignments are to be completed prior to the following class period. Expect at least one reading important for class participation (and part of your grade). Some assignments will include group work or individual research. Late assignments will be accepted for half credit up to one week after it is due. 


In addition to the assigned reading, you should constantly use Google. You won't have to memorize as much, but I will expect you to have Googled everything. Google your project ideas, Google your obstacles, Google for more information on specific topics. Don't ask a question before you Google it. You'll either find the answer or come up with a better question.

Laptops/Tablets/ Smartphones 

Please bring your laptop/tablet/smartphone to class. We will use the Internet and Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) regularly to search for examples related to class topics and communicate your findings with classmates. Please do not look at Facebook, etc… (there’s lots of research on multitasking to support this policy).

Academic Integrity

I expect you to uphold the Virginia Tech Honor Code at all times.

This includes neither giving nor receiving unauthorized assistance on assignments and exams. If you have doubts about whether or how the Virginia Tech Honor Code applies to a particular assignment or examination please ask for more specific guidelines from the instructor before submitting the work for evaluation. This code embodies a spirit of mutual trust and intellectual honesty that is central to the very nature of the university and our shared values.

Disability Accommodations

If you need adaptations or accommodations because of a disability (e.g. learning, attention deficit disorder, psychological, physical, etc.), or if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case of the building must be evacuated, please notify me through email or discuss with me in person the first week of class.


  • 10% Participation
  • 15% Discussions
  • 20% Assignments 
  • 55% Projects (20%, 15%, 25%) 

Learning and creating are the biggest rewards for the time you invest in this experience, but there are a few additional incentives.

Class attendance, participation, and preparation are required. You will receive a grade for your class participation and preparation (just showing up does not guarantee full credit for a class period). Preparation includes completing discussion posts prior to class. You will receive 100% credit for “thoughtful effort.” If I don't think you've put in the thoughtful effort, you will receive 50% credit for the discussion post. Unexcused absence from class will result in no credit for that class. Please email me or discuss with me in person to determine what constitutes an excused absence.

Participation (10%)

Participation is not the same as attendance. You are expected to participate in discussions during class about assigned readings and videos. 

Discussions and Assignments (35%)

Discussions and assignments are typically included after each module. You must turn them in prior to the following class period unless otherwise noted in the instructions.  

Projects (55%)

You will have three projects. More detail about the projects will be given in-class time. Unexcused late projects will be deducted 10% for each day they are late (ex. 3 days late = 30% deduction). Project 1 (Solutions for the NRV) is 20% of your total grade. Project 2 (Envision the Future) is 15% of your total grade. Project 3 (Infrastructure Insights) is 25% of your total grade. 


A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73; D 65-69; F 64 and below

Final grades are rounded up. Meaning, 93.1 = A and 92.9 = A-.  

Late Discussions and Assignments 

My goal is for you to focus on learning and not grades. Part of the learning process is being accountable for due dates. Because there are many opportunities to submit discussions and assignments and missing one of these will not likely affect your final grade I do not accept late discussions and late assignments will be accepted for half credit.