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A Group Project-based Approach to Induce Learning in Engineering Thermodynamics

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.49.1 - 26.49.9



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Paper Authors


Soumik Banerjee Washington State University

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Dr. Soumik Banerjee is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at WSU. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech in 2008, followed by a Research Scholar position at the Max Planck Institute in Magdeburg, Germany (2008 – 2009) and a postdoctoral research associate position at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (2009 - 2011). Dr. Soumik Banerjee’s expertise lies in modeling transport phenomena, self-assembly and growth of nanomaterials relevant to energy conversion and storage devices. Dr. Banerjee's teaching interests lie in the fields of thermodynamics and heat transfer. He has received several prestigious awards including the 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award in 2013, the Pratt Fellowship at Virginia Tech and the Best Poster Award at Dean’s Forum on Energy Security and Sustainability at Virginia Tech. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and presented nearly 30 times at national and international meetings, organized symposia at conferences and serves as a frequent reviewer and referee in his field.

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A group project based approach to induce learning in engineering thermodynamics A group project was introduced to undergraduate students in engineering thermodynamics.The goal was to provide students an opportunity to work in groups to apply fundamentalprinciples of thermodynamics that were taught in class. The principle motivation behindintroduction of the group project were to examine if learning effectiveness is improved whenstudents work in groups and also to determine whether application of fundamental principles toreal-life problems enhance student learning experience. The undergraduate class includedstudents from a range of engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering, civilengineering and electrical engineering at mostly the junior and senior levels. The lectures in classprimarily discuss fundamental principles related to the first and second laws of thermodynamicswith some examples of applications related to power cycles and refrigeration. For the project, thestudents were encouraged to explore relevant topics from day-to-day life where principles ofthermodynamics could be employed. Each group comprised 5-7 students with varyingperformance based on quizzes, home work and in-class exams. The projects were evaluatedbased on a written report and group presentation that clearly mentioned the contribution of eachmember. Additionally, students were encouraged to make anonymous comments on their overallexperience in working towards the project. The outcomes of the assignments as well asanonymous comments are analyzed to provide qualitative and quantitative insight into theeffectiveness of the student group projects. Overall, this article will present the outcome of thestudent group projects and its effectiveness in engaging them and improving their understandingof principles of thermodynamics, relative to their overall engagement and performance based onother assignments.

Banerjee, S. (2015, June), A Group Project-based Approach to Induce Learning in Engineering Thermodynamics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23390

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