Where to start
I’m often asked which course students should take first. This depends on your background knowledge and what you want to achieve.
To help you decide where to start, DegreeTutors courses are arranged into learning pathways. You can think of learning pathways as a sensible or suggested sequence to take these courses rather than strict prerequisites.
Now, although there is a suggested sequence, that’s not to say that someone who just wants to learn the Moment Distribution Method can’t just jump into Indeterminate Structures & The Moment Distribution Method. But if you’re not comfortable drawing bending moment diagrams, it might be sensible to start with Mastering Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams.
Fundamentals of Structural Analysis is at the top of the tree. This is the starting point for anyone new to structural analysis that wants to start from ground zero. This will set you up well for to progress onto any of the following pathways.
In Pathway A we focus on developing a complete understanding of Shear Forces and Bending Moments and your ability to construct Shear Force and Bending moment diagrams.
You’ll develop a sound understanding of techniques applied to statically determinate beams and frames in Mastering Shear Force and Bending Moment Diagrams. These skills are then sharpened in the Shear Forces and Bending Moments Analysis Bootcamp.
After this, you will move on to learn about the moment distribution method for analysing statically indeterminate beams and frames in Indeterminate Structures and The Moment Distribution Method. This will massively broaden the range of structures you can analyse. Again you will further hone your analysis skills in the Moment Distribution Method Analysis Bootcamp.
After completing Learning Pathway A you will be confident in taking on a complete bending moment and shear force evaluation for any beam or frame structure. You will also have developed an intuition for qualitative structural behaviour.
Pathway B is all about harnessing the power of virtual work and dispelling the confusion students often experience with this topic.
We’ll start by developing an understanding of the Principle of Virtual Work and how to leverage it for analysis of axially loaded members in Fundamentals of Virtual Work for Civil Engineers. This will allow us to determine forces, reactions and deflections in pin-jointed truss structures.
We’ll move on to apply Virtual Work to statically determinate beam and frame structures in Mastering Virtual Work for Civil Engineering. After completing this course you will have expanded your toolbox to be able to calculate deflections in beams and frames.
The payoff for mastering virtual work really comes after completing Analysing Hybrid Indeterminate Civil Engineering Structures. In this course you will utilise everything you’ve learned so far to analyse indeterminate structures consisting of both bending and axially loaded members.
After completing Learning Pathway B, you will have fully grasped the power of virtual work and be confident tackling the analysis of hybrid structures that may have previously left you stumped.
Pathway D is focused on developing your knowledge of matrix methods of structural analysis. This pathway will help you develop a suite of programmatic structural analysis tools that leverage the power and speed of computers.
The Direct Stiffness Method for Truss Analysis with Python introduces you to the Direct Stiffness Method. This is the fundamental finite element analysis method. You’ll be comfortable building and solving structural models using matrix analysis techniques after taking this course. The aim of this course is to build your own generalised truss analysis programme and build the foundation for a more complex solver in the next course.
Beam & Frame Analysis using the Direct Stiffness Method in Python expands on what you’ve learned during your study of truss analysis. In this course you’ll develop a solver that handles structures subject to shear and bending. By the time you complete the course, your generalised beam and frame solver will be able to output shear force diagrams, bending moment diagrams and deflected shapes.
3D Space Frame Analysis using Python and Blender builds on what you learned in The Direct Stiffness Method for Truss Analysis with Python. You will expand the code developed in that course to accommodate 3D space frame structures. This course also introduced you to Blender, a powerful open source 3D modelling software that makes the process of developing 3D structural models much faster.
Finite Element Analysis of 3D Structures using Python takes beam and frame analysis into the 3D world. You will build on what you learned in all three previous courses to develop your own feature rich 3D structural analysis programme. This course marks the end of this pathway – after completing it, you will have mastered the direct stiffness method and have a suite of structural analysis tools at your disposal.
These courses make use of Python in the Jupyter Notebook environment. These are not ‘Learn Python’ courses but you’ll learn the Python you need along the way.
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