Special Topics in Civil Engineering


    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Arindam Chowdjury & Emil Simiu
    (305) 348-0518
    By Appointment

    Course Time Zone | Eastern Standard Time (EST). Course due dates are according to this time zone.

    Course Description and Purpose

    This is a senior or first-year graduate-level course on wind effects on structures. The course presents elements of wind and structural engineering and their complementary contributions to designing safe and economical structures for wind.  An engineering background will be required for assignments and projects. Wind engineering topics include: basic elements of general and boundary-layer meteorology; extreme value wind climatology; aerodynamics and aerodynamic testing; and uncertainty quantification applied to these disciplines. Structural engineering topics include: the use of wind engineering information to determine aerodynamic and, for flexible structures, dynamic loading, checking the ratio of available versus required member capacities, and iterating the design process until that ratio is satisfactory. In addition, elements of aeroelasticity are presented to enable the designer to achieve structures free of unwanted flow-structure interactions effects. Other topics include tornadoes and wind-borne missiles.

    This course will consist of 12 modules, 7 assignments, 4 projects, and 1 final project. Each module will be available for a period of time and can be studied at the student's individual pace. Assignments and projects will be completed individually and will be evaluated. Communication will take place primarily via email and online meetings upon student requests. At the end of the course the students will have learned the key techniques required to perform modern, effective designs of structures for wind.

    Course Objectives

    Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

    1. Describe features of the atmospheric boundary layer of interest in structural engineering applications. [Modules 1, 4]
    2. Apply probabilistic procedures for estimating extreme wind speeds or peak wind effects. [Modules 2, 9]
    3. Identify factors and parameters that determine aerodynamic effects of wind flow on structures. [Modules 3, 4, 12]
    4. Explain the current approach to using uncertainties in wind engineering data. [Modules 5, 8]
    5. Examine various approaches and methods for determining the response of structures to wind. [Modules 6, 7]
    6. Assess procedures for estimating structural response to wind. [Modules 10, 11]

    Important Information


    Please review the FIU's Policies and Netiquette webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    As a member of the FIU community you are expected to be knowledgeable about the behavioral expectations set forth in the FIU Student Code of Conduct.

    Technical Requirements and Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    • Students must have access to Microsoft Excel. 

    Privacy Policy Statements for Partners and Vendors

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility and Accommodation

    The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Web Accessibility Statements for Partners and Vendors 

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for additional information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

    Academic Misconduct Statement

    Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook.

    Academic Misconduct includes: Cheating – The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Plagiarism – The use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including internet sources, is responsible for plagiarism.

    Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.

    Panthers Care & Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

    If you are looking for help for yourself or a fellow classmate, Panthers Care encourages you to express any concerns you may come across as it relates to any personal behavior concerns or worries you have, for the classmate’s well-being or yours; you are encouraged to share your concerns with FIU’s Panthers Care website.

    Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential help for anxiety, depression, stress, and other concerns that life brings. Professional counselors are available for same-day appointments. Don’t wait to call 305-348-2277 to set up a time to talk or visit the online self-help portal.

    Course Prerequisites

    Students should have earned credits in undergraduate civil and mechanical engineering curricula.


    Textbook Image
    Wind Effects on Structures (Required)
    Emil Simiu, DongHun Yeo
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-02-19
    ISBN-10: 1119375886
    ISBN-13: 9781119375883
    You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore and at Amazon

    Slides prepared by the Arindam Chowdhury for Florida International University in 2019 are also posted throughout the course. 

    Expectations of this Course

    This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the how to get started information located in course content.
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self-introduction in the appropriate discussion forum.
    • Ensure your computer is compatible with Canvas.
    • Participate in learner-content and learner-instructor interactions. Learners are invited to participate in the Introduce Yourself Forum and the Open Forum. *Further Learner-learner interaction is not appropriate for this course.
    • Review and follow the course calendar.
    • Log in to the course two times per week.
    • Respond to messages withing three days.

    The instructors will:

    • Log in to the course two times per week.
    • Respond to messages within three days.
    • Grade assignments and projects within 7-10 days of the deadline.

    *Learner-learner interaction was not chosen for this course as the instructor chose to be the main resource for feedback and assistance to ensure students were never misinformed by peers. The instructor was readily available to students through Canvas Inbox, Adobe Connect meetings, and the Open Forum and regularly communicated via Announcements.

    Course Detail

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via the Canvas Inbox. Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial or Canvas Guide to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox. I will respond to all correspondences within three days. 

    Discussion Forums

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

    Introduce Yourself: 

    • Students will post their course self introduction in this forum using the guidelines posted within the first week of class
    • Available dates (unlimited)

    Open Forum: 

    • Students may post general concerns related to the class
    • Students cannot post any assignment results/answers or related files
    • Available dates (unlimited )
    • Forums are not graded, it is another mean to help students via peer discussion


    • This course includes seven graded assignments.
    • Each is available for the duration of the module.
    • One attempt is permitted.
    • Each includes question(s) that require calculation and file upload.
    • Grading criteria is provided in assignment dropboxes.
    • Student score is available within 7-10 days of the submission deadline.


    • This course includes four two-step projects based on module topics. Students must show calculations for answers when applicable.
    • Projects are to be completed by individual students.
    • Grading criteria is provided in assignment files.
    • Feedback will be provided 7 days after initial submission. No grade is issued for the initial submission.
    • Student score is available within 7-10 days of the final submission deadline. A grade is issued only for the final submission.

    Adobe Connect Pro Meeting

    dobe Connect is an online meeting room where you can interact with your professor and fellow students by sharing screens, sharing files, chatting, broadcasting live audio, and taking part in other interactive online activities. We will be utilizing this tool to conduct meetings as requested.

    Requirements for using Adobe Connect:

    • Disable any window pop-up blocker.
    • Adobe Flash Player is required to successfully run your Adobe Connect meeting. You can test your computer to make sure your computer and network connections are properly configured to provide you with the best possible Adobe Connect meeting experience.
    • Use of a combination headset and microphone with USB connection is recommended to ensure quality sound and reduce technical difficulties.

    Reference Adobe Connect (Tutorials & Help) to learn about the tool, how to access your meeting rooms and recordings.



    Course Requirements Number of Items Points for Each Total Points Available Weight
    Assignments 7 50 350 35%
    Projects 4 100 400 40%
    Final Project 1 250 250 25%
    Total 12 N/A 1000 100%
    Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
    A 95 or above B 83 - 86 C 70 - 76
    A- 90 - 94 B- 80 - 82 D 60 - 69
    B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F 59 or less