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Art for the Sake of Improving Attitudes Toward Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Creative and Cross-disciplinary Methods Part I

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.206.1 - 25.206.30

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Paper Authors


Jean Hertzberg University of Colorado, Boulder

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Jean Hertzberg is currently Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at CU, Boulder. Her research centers around pulsatile, vortex dominated flows with applications in both combustion, and bio-fluid dynamics. She is also interested in a variety of flow field measurement techniques, and has recently begun work in engineering education research.
Hertzberg teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in measurement techniques, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, design, and computer tools. She has pioneered a spectacular new course on flow visualization, co-taught to engineering and fine arts students, and studies the impact of this and other courses using mixed-method approaches.

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Bailey Renee Leppek University of Colorado, Boulder


Kara E. Gray University of Colorado, Boulder

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School of Education

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Attitudes Towards Fluids: the Impact of Flow VisualizationSince 2003, a course on flow visualization has been offered to mixed teams of engineering andfine arts photography and video students at the University of Colorado. A survey instrument isbeing developed that explores student perceptions of and attitude towards fluid physics. It hasbeen administered to students in the flow visualization course, in a traditional junior level fluidmechanics course, in a course on design and in an upper division technical elective onsustainable energy as a control. Survey results indicate that the students in the flow visualizationcourse, after a semester of making images for art’s sake, emerge believing that fluid mechanics ismore important to themselves as engineers and to society, i.e. they have a positive shift in affect.The students in the traditional fluids course which is packed with real-life engineering examplesexhibit a negative shift in attitude, which is typical of other technical courses. The use ofphotography in improving student perceptions is being extended to a course on perception ofdesign; preliminary results from a survey on attitudes towards design suggest less of an impactthan the flow visualization course. Examples of student images from both courses will bepresented as well.

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