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Columbia University

The Construction Industry: The Way Forward

Columbia University via Coursera


This final course in the specialization provides an introduction on types of the construction projects as well as the main concern of the productivity challenge in the construction industry. Through case studies, you will learn the industry characteristics and its unique environment that led to such productivity performance as well as touch base on other several examples of challenges we are facing internally in the industry.

In the 2nd part of the course, Professor Odeh will give an overview of 10 mega trends that are making us change the way we think about construction. Furthermore, Professor Odeh will discuss the main role of three levels on what needs to be done: an industry collaborative effort and role; a government role; and last but not least a company role. In this discussion, Professor Odeh will also touch base on several technological and innovative trends that are rising in our construction industry.


  • Introduction
    • Welcome to the course. In this module Professor Odeh will give an overview of the construction industry and its history. This will be followed by an exploration of the various characteristics of the construction industry globally as well as common internal challenges.
  • Trends in the Construction Industry
    • The second module highlights ten examples of trends that are reshaping the way we deliver construction projects, such as: aging infrastructure, climate change, sustainability trends and tools, the rise of urbanization, and an aging/shrinking workforce. Along the way, you'll learn the optimal ways to respond to the opportunities and challenges brought by these trends respectively.
  • Transformations Needed: Industry and Government Level
    • In this module, Professor Odeh discusses the way forward for the construction industry based on his work with the World Economic Forum. Moreover, Professor Odeh will discuss the importance of collaborating with governments and public officials in pursuit of industry transformation.
  • Transformations Needed: Companies Level
    • This module builds on the previous one by digging deeper into the role of companies at the AEC industry by covering the areas of innovative strategy, dealing with the workforce dilemma and culture, as well as business operations and processes.
  • New and Rising Innovative Technologies
    • The final module covers rising technological trends in the AEC industry by giving an introduction to topics such as the use of Big Data, machine learning in construction, 3D printing, robotics, virtual/augmented reality, and the rise of Digital Twin. The course concludes by connecting the four industrial revolutions to our modern day construction industry.

Taught by

Ibrahim Odeh, Ph.D., MBA


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