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An Assessment Of Active And Project Based Learning In Energy Conservation Education For Nontechnical Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.166.1 - 9.166.20



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Paper Authors

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Alan Scaroni

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David DiBiase

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Jonathan Mathews

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Sarma Pisupati

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An Assessment of Active and Project Based Learning in Energy Conservation Education for Non-Technical Students Sarma V. Pisupati, Jonathan P. Mathews, David DiBiase, and Alan W. Scaroni Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering Department and John A. Dutton e-Education Institute College of Earth & Mineral Sciences The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802

Abstract A 3-credit general education course on “Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection” was developed for mostly non-science/engineering students. The objective of the course is to expose students to energy efficiency in day-to-day life to save both money and energy thereby protecting the environment. This course provides students with the necessary knowledge and information on the main operating principles of household devices/appliances enabling the appropriate selection of energy efficient, cost effective, and environmentally responsible choices. The course relies on active learning components to enhance the cognition of the fundamental concepts of heat transfer, principles of energy conversion, and thermodynamics. The course successfully generated interest in the student population as reflected in the enrollment increasing from 40 students in the first semester to 600 plus students per semester in the third year of offering. In this class, students perform four individual projects (active learning) in lieu of formal homework and one group project with four members in each team. The purpose of these projects is to reinforce the concepts with hands on activities performed outside the classroom. Group projects are selected by the group members from a number of choices: selection of most energy efficient and economical appliances, lighting and appliance energy savings, automobile savings, hot water savings, or dormitory energy conservation. The students learn the subject matter through individual hands on projects and peer-to- peer interaction within group projects. The paper presents examples of the projects and discusses the impact of individual and group projects on students’ learning. Students’ feedback on learning effectiveness through projects will also be discussed. The paper will also present the qualitative impact of projects on students’ interest in the subject to promote life long learning in this area. Introduction In the fall of 2001, the Department of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering initiated a drive to educate more students in Energy related subjects outside our majors. A 3-credit general education course on “Energy Conservation and Environmental

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education"

Scaroni, A., & DiBiase, D., & Mathews, J., & Pisupati, S. (2004, June), An Assessment Of Active And Project Based Learning In Energy Conservation Education For Nontechnical Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13306

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