Course: Understanding Wood and Wood Products

This is the online version of a course that I am teaching in the Building and Construction Technology (BCT) program at UMass Amherst. This course is available to anyone on a per-credit fee basis.

Course Description

Wood is an amazing building material: It is beautiful and warm to the touch. It is easy to machine and abundantly available. It is light, yet strong and stiff. And best of all: It comes from a renewable source. To build with wood, however, requires understanding its peculiarities: the variability of its properties, its interaction with water and the possibility of bio-deterioration.

This course introduces students to the physical and mechanical properties of wood. It provides an overview of wood-based products and exposes students to structural systems in wood. Basic techniques for physical measurement and mechanical testing are introduced by conducting and analyzing several laboratory experiments.

You can take this course on its own or part of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Building Construction or our Master’s in Sustainable Building Systems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Appreciation for the qualities of wood as a building material through evaluation of its properties, manufacturing techniques and aesthetic appeal
  • Awareness of properties that affect the performance of wood. In particular, understanding of the wood-moisture relationship
  • Understanding of typical and potential applications of wood
  • Awareness of structural systems for wood and methods to plan and manufacture these
  • Understanding of wood-based products used in construction, their manufacture, properties and peculiarities
  • Awareness of importance of experimental verification of material properties
  • Introduction into structural testing equipment, wood drying, and laboratory measurements

Pre-Requisites

None

Course Format

This course is delivered online through the UMass Amherst learning management systems. A lab component included in this course can be completed virtually.

Dates and Cost

Fall Term (August – November, 14 weeks):

  • BCT 597W: $1,707 ($569/credit) plus a $47 term fee (2020 rates)

Where to sign up

You can find this course and register on the UMass University Without Walls (UWW) here:

UMass UWW Courses