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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1

By: Blaise J. Fitzpatrick, PE

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Course Objective

This continuing education course is written specifically for professional engineers with the objective of relating to and enhancing the practice of engineering.

Course Description

115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1

The mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall course provides an introductory lesson addressing the basics of MSE wall design. The course, which has been separated into three parts, covers the following topics:

  • Part 1 - History of MSE Structures (ancient and modern).
  • Part 1 - Industry Design Methods and Programs.
  • Part 1 - Segmental Block and Reinforcement Products.
  • Part 2 - Failure Modes.
  • Part 2 - Civil Design Considerations.
  • Part 2 - Geotechnical Engineering Considerations and Soils Testing.
  • Part 2 - Why Do MSE Walls Fail?
  • Part 3 - Detailed hand calculation.

The course is geared toward engineers who practice in the civil, geotechnical, surveying and structural disciplines.

115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
ALFREDO RAUSEO
01/20/2019
Verified Buyer
Thank you
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
John Dickert
01/15/2019
Verified Buyer
Very interesting course, especially since it had ancient origins.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Joseph Shandling
01/07/2019
Verified Buyer
The course material was clear and easy to follow.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
David Mathews
01/07/2019
Verified Buyer
Very thorough overview of important considerations for MSE walls, with a little detailed review of geotechnical engineering sprinkled in.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Ralph Trepal
01/04/2019
Verified Buyer
I thought the course was well presented and a great learning tool. The test was fair and adhered to the information presented in the course work.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Kamal Tawfiq
01/03/2019
Although, I am a professor and teach MSW, I found this test is very informative.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
scott
01/03/2019
Verified Buyer
Good review of retaining wall design
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Ira Battle
12/31/2018
Verified Buyer
Informative and challenging
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
JAN C PEREZ
12/29/2018
Verified Buyer
good subject
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Robert Bourdon
12/29/2018
Verified Buyer
This was not a easy course - very good.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Alonzo Diaz de Leon
12/28/2018
ECS Southeast
The course was helpful in the sense that they provided calculations, real world problems, and annotations by a professional.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Robert Morrisette, Jr.
12/12/2018
Verified Buyer
Informative review of subject for an experienced engineer
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Andy Mina
12/03/2018
Verified Buyer
Good refresher on basic earth wall construction, but disagree with author that "not recommended" is the same as "never" with respect to the use of NCMA methods.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Gregg Lund
11/17/2018
Verified Buyer
Good historical, theoretical and practical mix
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Alex Merritt
11/07/2018
Verified Buyer
Thorough intro course to MSE walls. I am looking forward to parts 1 and 2.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Sam daoudi
10/22/2018
Verified Buyer
It is very useful and gives direct data and information that the engineers needs
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
JUDITH O'BRIEN
10/01/2018
Verified Buyer
good information
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Leonid Krupnik
09/07/2018
Verified Buyer
usefull information was provided
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Frank Makowski
08/19/2018
Verified Buyer
Very interesting. Learned a lot. Almost feel like I could do rudimentary inspections on a job site now.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Jim Federici
07/17/2018
Verified Buyer
Enjoyed the course. Excellent overview of MSES design.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Michael Merrick
06/21/2018
Succinct information for tying wall components, design equations, wall deficiencies and software all together.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Robert Eitel
06/08/2018
Verified Buyer
One of the best on-line courses I have taken. Part 1 presents a history of MSE and the course goes through theory and design calcs.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
MICHELLE B RICHARDS
04/28/2018
Verified Buyer
Part 1 was a good introduction to the history of and basic mechanics of MSE walls. I am looking forward to further studies in Parts 2 and 3.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Solon Hale
03/31/2018
Verified Buyer
A good fundamental review of basic soil mechanics and mechanically stabilized earth wall structures.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Oswald Mora
03/20/2018
Verified Buyer
Excellent course!
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
David Gibbs
01/04/2018
Verified Buyer
A good overview! Very helpful...
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Eric Brunn
12/07/2017
Verified Buyer
Great refresher on MSE Walls.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Walid Maher
11/14/2017
Verified Buyer
Excellent refresher course. Enjoyed it. Thank you.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
John Riley
11/10/2017
Verified Buyer
Good review of the initial MSW systems
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Paul Phillip Shu
11/08/2017
Verified Buyer
Good basic design information that could be used to design a MSE retaining wall.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Robert J. Alban
11/05/2017
Verified Buyer
Good review of the subject.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Jerry Austin
02/16/2017
Verified Buyer
VERY GOOD - I LEARNED A LOT
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
James Benoit
02/06/2017
Verified Buyer
Good introductory course dealing with the major design concepts and offering sample calculations. It also identified the major areas of design concern requiring particular attention or other expert technical input.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Terry Giles
01/04/2017
Verified Buyer
The correct amount of challenge for a practicing engineer.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Ken Menzie
01/01/2017
Verified Buyer
Good introduction to MSE structures
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Samir Bahho
12/27/2016
Verified Buyer
The course addresses MSE easy made. With the Course, It help me to understand what to look in designing of MSE Walls.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
CHARLES K WISHMEIER
12/26/2016
Verified Buyer
I would give the course itself a score of 8/10. Very interesting and a good source to go further in the subject. I would say this is a course written by an engineer for an engineer. I definitely intend to do Part II in 2017.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
H. Kent Magleby
12/24/2016
Verified Buyer
This course was presented well and provided useful information.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Wayne Ericson
12/21/2016
Verified Buyer
the MSE wall course was a good review and primer for this type of wall design. It included figures and example problems.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Frank Matchner
12/01/2016
Verified Buyer
A very good overview of MSE Wall design. I am looking forward to taking Part 2 in this series.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Oliver Clemons
12/01/2016
Verified Buyer
Good introductory course for MSE walls.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Michael Malachi
11/21/2016
Verified Buyer
Excellent
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Walter
11/06/2016
Verified Buyer
Full met my expectations.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
10/14/2016
Excellent Course!
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Anthony DiPiero
10/13/2016
Verified Buyer
Solid, to-the-point information on how to design MSE walls.
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I do not agree.
John Mulqueen, P.E.
08/07/2016
Verified Buyer
The answer for Question 41 calculates to be ... and is therefore unacceptable as an answer. As a professor I had in my college days once said "Bridge fall down, no partial credit".
Portions of this review were deleted because they discussed the correct answer to test questions.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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Good course
William R Curlee
07/07/2016
Verified Buyer
Good comprehensive course. Only objection was that choices (c) and (d) for question 23 mean the same thing and are ambiguous.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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115-MSES pt 1 test
Thom Ferguson
03/29/2016
Verified Buyer
Good course in general and good test. At first I questioned that the answers to questions 9 & 19 were incorrect, since I got them both wrong in the test. But after looking at both the questions and answers more closely, I think they are clever requiring more than a cursory look and a quick response.
3 of 3 customers found this helpful.
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115 Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Anonymous reviewer
01/22/2016
Good material and logically presented.
3 of 3 customers found this helpful.
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Mechanically Stabilzed Earth Structures - Part 1
Anonymous reviewer
12/13/2015
Verified Buyer
The course literature was well written and extensive enough to provide a solid understanding of the effort needed to design an earth structure.
4 of 4 customers found this helpful.
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115-Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Lloyd Kennedy, Jr., P.E.
11/23/2015
This was a very good introductory course on MSE walls.
2 of 2 customers found this helpful.
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MSES COURSE
Frank J. Crisp, P.E.
09/17/2015
Excellent course material, well presented and thorough explanation and procedures outline. Also an excellent review of soils testing methods and the results required for the design process. Could use 1-2 graphical depictions of segmental blocks indicating dimensions relative to placement in a wall system. The test questions were straight forward and in-line with the data. I consider this material a worthwhile and high value SUNCAM course and plan to take Parts 2/3.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
Kenneth D. Klipper
08/05/2015
Interesting and thorough
2 of 2 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
07/29/2015
Excellent review material and the test questions were very well done.
2 of 2 customers found this helpful.
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Interesting Material, Well Presented by a Knowledgeable Engineer
Nick Halbrook
04/03/2015
This is a good basic course on the principals of the subject design matter. Some fundamental albeit not challenging calculations. Would benefit from the addition of some calcs that demonstrate more of the points discussed.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
03/09/2015
Straight forward. Questions were clear and covered the material.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
03/05/2015
long but well done and questions are well done.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
02/09/2015
Well written course on MSE. Well worth the time and a good refresher on a subject I have not dealt with directly.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part 1
Wes Cannady
02/03/2015
I gained some knowledge of the subject. The course material and test was easy to follow.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
Robert DiChristopher
02/02/2015
Course held my interest and was very comprehensive for a part one course
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Excellent Overview of Important Aspects of MSE Structures
Kenneth E. Fusach
01/25/2015
The course was a great benefit to me in a subject area long overdue for review and refresher.

SunCam Comment: A portion of the reviewers comments were removed because they were misleading about the answer to one of the test questions.

1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
Kenneth Sykes
01/17/2015
The course met my objectives and I learned some things that I had forgotten.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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mechanically stabilized earth structures - Part 1
anonymous
01/10/2015
good introduction to a subject I do not deal with daily
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/31/2014
Materials are well written, easy to understand and helped me to learn about a new topic without feeling like I was in over my head.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/30/2014
very informative and hands-on with basic calculations
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Very Informative
Charles Keith Wishmeier, P.E.
12/29/2014
Even though I believe that questions 10 and 23 are not well worded (I missed them) I found this course to be well worth the time, especially the information on the specified soils. Looking forward to taking Part II.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/22/2014
Great course
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/06/2014
No comments
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(no title provided)
Joseph Talago III
11/06/2014
Good course. Easy to understand. I learned a lot.
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(no title provided)
Tom Green
10/15/2014
It was good and fair. I thought it was a little design-based and more field construction discussion may have been added.
1 of 1 customers found this helpful.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
08/31/2014
Great course on MSE walls.
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(no title provided)
Harvey Flamholtz
08/01/2014
The material is easy to follow and understand. It is well organized and leads the student through a logically prepared set of ideas and calculations.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
07/31/2014
Course content was good and very helpful. However, when I took the test, the text last half of the questions was so I could barely read them. This should be corrected ASAP.

SunCam Response: No other customer has reported this problem and we have been unable to replicate it. Suspect it is a problem that resides on the customer's equipment.

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(no title provided)
Richard Steele
06/02/2014
Well presented and pertinate useful information. Was first SunCam course taken, previously used RedVector paid for my employer but now have semi-retired, so must find cost effective productive courses to maintain Professional Engineers licenses in numerous states.
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(no title provided)
Daryl Worley
05/30/2014
My first Sun Cam course. It was easy to download and use.

Course material well put together and easy to understand
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(no title provided)
Mark Shlyakov
05/19/2014
This was a good review course. The information is consistent and logical.

[portions deleted]

SunCam Comment: The reviewer challenged the correct answer to questions 13 and 41 and the author has responded directly to the reviewer with an explanation. A portion of the reviewer's comments were deleted because they reveled the correct answer to those questions.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
04/22/2014
Overall very good- Two areas needing improvement : (1) The formulas introduce factors (H,W,for example) without clarifying what they are- a free body diagram would help. (2) Several questions could have more than one correct answer because of vageness in the text, or vague questions or possible answers.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
04/15/2014
VERY CLEAR AND CONCISE DETAIL OF MSE DESIGN AND THEORY
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(no title provided)
anonymous
04/08/2014
Good course on MSE design parameters. Warns of the many pitfalls to avoid.
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Just what the doctor ordered
Alice Maupin
03/31/2014
I am the Chief Civil Engineer of CalPortland Co. We manufacture cement and also Redi-Rock retaining wall blocks. My goal is to be able to design Redi-Rock MSE walls without having to use an outside consultant. This course was just what the doctor ordered.

2 comments on the test:

SunCam Comment: Portions of the review were deleted because they reveal the answers to questions.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
02/28/2014
Excellent Course.Covers Design and Construction aspect of MSE wall
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(no title provided)
anonymous
02/24/2014
Very educational and useful.

Definitely will recommend it to Civil and Structural Engineers.
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Good Course
Ron Bebee PE
02/22/2014
Good course with only a few technical and grammatical errors.

SunCam Comment: A follow-up with the reviewer identified one typing error which has been corrected. There were no technical errors.
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Public Works Director
Donald West
01/30/2014
This course was very interesting to me because we have experienced failures of mechanically stabilized earth structures in our local area. We have unusual soil conditions in some areas with clay layers and perched groundwater. It helps me to understand probable causes of why these structures failed. This information will help me to avoid overlooking important design considerations.
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(no title provided)
Luis
01/19/2014
This course was very helpful and I learned new things.
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Mechanically Stablized Earth Structures
Harlow L. brown
01/07/2014


SunCam Comment: This reviewer had a comment regarding one of the test questions, which was subsequently discussed and addressed by the author.

We NEVER publish comments that reveal the answers to questions. Comments related to test questions should be emailed to the author.

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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/28/2013
The course is easy to understand and does not require a masters degree in engineering. I only found a couple of items, related to soil mechanics, that I didn't know. Like all courses it starts with some of the history of mechanically stabilized earth structures and a simple discussion of how they are built.
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(no title provided)
T J Bossard, PE
12/22/2013
It was good, with a little touch of history, comprehensive, and the test was a fair representation of the course material. I liked the problem applications, and I will be able to use the course material for future work. Thanks, TJ
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/02/2013
This course is well written and the software makes it easy to use. I am ordering my next PDH course today from SunCam!

UPDATE:

This course does not include software so SunCam asked the reviewer for clarification about the software reference. Here is his response.
"Bill, thanks for the opportunity to clarify my comment. I was referring to the program that presents the course. Your screen design is easy to use and navigate. From finding the course description, moving to checkout, then downloading the course material, I found all these well designed. Perhaps you should offer your services to fix ObamaCare! Just kidding."

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(no title provided)
anonymous
11/25/2013
As a mechanical engineer, this course provided insight and understanding into the design and construction of mechanically stabilized earth structures. Now I have an appeciation of what the civil/structural engineers must analyze and determine for mechanically stabilized earth structures. A great primer.
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Informative
Todd
11/18/2013
Dealt well with both practical and design issues. The commentary on soil parameters and testing is useful.
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(no title provided)
Denis Roza
11/17/2013
I found the course very informative and helpful.

The part of the answer to question 31 is c=70 ksf but the Mohr Diagram has c=0.70 ksf, What did I not understand I answered

d. none of the above because I did not see a result that contained both parameters.

SunCam Comment: The reviewer challenged the answer to question 31 and the author responded with a detailed explanation. The challenge and response cannot be shown here because it would reveal the answer to that test question.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
11/04/2013
Good refresher on MSE design
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(no title provided)
anonymous
10/08/2013
Great refresher course, easy to follow
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Good Course
Matthew PE
10/08/2013
Text #31 is incorrect. The graph shows the pressure in ksf but your exam shows the pressure in PSF.

Author Response: You are correct. The pressure should have been in units of kfs on test question 31. Thanks for catching the typo. We have corrected the test.
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Good summary
anonymous
10/07/2013
For those of us who do not regualry desing MSE structures, this wa a good overview. the course seemed to cover the basics of designing a MSE structure and included calculations. there were a few glitches in that not all variables were defined before the equation was introduced. Several of the diagrams needed notations corresponding to the equations.
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Course Review
David P. Rector
10/07/2013
The course was well written and a valuable learning tool regarding introducing me to MSE design. It is one of the best PDH courses that I have taken during my professional career.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
10/06/2013
It was a good learning course
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Thomas A. Garrett, P.E. - Evaluation
Thomas A. Garrett
10/02/2013
Course is excellent. I feel that I learned something, even tho the completion of the course is convenient and relatively quick. As a semi-retired Engineer, I especially appreciate the availability of applicable PDH courses at reasonable prices, and without the need to travel and pay hotel bills, etc. I plan to recommend your courses to others.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
09/30/2013
The "correct" answer to question 43 is wrong. The load-displacement curve for frictional connections on page 24 of the printed material clearly has a gradual decline vs. "leveling out" as the answer indicates should be true. Please correct this error on your answer sheet. Otherwise a good introductory course.

Author Response: Question 43 and the answer are correct as written
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(no title provided)
anonymous
05/21/2013
Very good introduction to mechanically stabilized earth structures.
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Mechanically Stabilized Earth Structures - Part I
anonymous
11/25/2012
An interesting method of retaining earth using earth. How does MSE cost vs. reliabilty / importance compare with other earth retaining methods such as a short CMU retaining wall.



Author Response: Thank you for the kind review of Course #115. Here is a quick response to your questions.


? MSE walls are typically less expensive as compared to cast-in-place concrete walls or short CMU wall, this is very apparent as the walls increase in height.


? The FHWA NHI-00-043 document has a chart showing cost difference between MSE and other types of retaining walls based on height.


? Provided that a MSE wall is properly designed and constructed its reliability would be that of any other type of retaining wall.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
07/13/2012
A little elementary.
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