June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.266.1 - 26.266.12
Assessments of Ultra-Low-Cost Venturi Nozzle in Undergraduate Engineering ClassesIt is well known to engineering schools and professors that students pass many courses withoutgaining core concepts. Students learn equations as a fill in the blank formula withoutunderstanding what each term really means. As an illustration, we gave students a venturi nozzlewith manometer attached to it. Air was pumped through the nozzle while water was used in themanometer. Students were confused about whether they should use the density of air or water inthe Bernoulli equation. This and many other examples show deficiency in traditional teachingmethodologies. To improve long-term conceptual learning, teaching methods that stimulatestudent thinking and encourage problem solving ability are needed.One usefulpedagogy is that of hands-on learning because it improves students understandingthrough interactive learning strategies. We have used desktop learning modules or DLMs wherestudents are given a chance to see, touch, feel, and experience real-world engineering systemdesigns and their operation, all of which lead to better understanding. Yet, currently availableDLMs are costly; therefore only small numbers are affordable in most programs, and studentteams must share them with just a short period of time in which to use them in the classroom.However, with the availability of 3D printers for creating molds and vacuum formingmanufacture, ultra-low-cost venturi nozzles can be made available at a price less than $50including the necessary pump, tubing, static head pressure measurement and flow reservoirs.With further refinement these systems, because of their, small-size and low-weight, can be takenhome by students for further study after introduction in the classroom.Our team designed and implemented low-cost venturi nozzles in a junior-level mechanicalengineering fluid mechanics course. A control group just had lecture while an experimentalgroup received a mini-orientation lecture, and participated in a small three-person interactivehands-on learning session. Both experimental and control groups were split among twogeographic locations, with one local and one distance site. To assess impact on conceptuallearning, the two groups were compared through the use of pre- and post-quizzes.In this paper, we report on how pre- and post-quizzes were developed through a mini-Delphitechnique. Briefly, we invited Professors from both chemical and mechanical engineeringexperienced in teaching fluid mechanics courses and asked them about student misconceptionsthey had encountered. Based on their answers, we developed the pre- and post-quizzes with atleast one question from each of Bloom's taxonomy levels. To get to higher levels, we combinedboth multiple-choice and short answer questions. The assessment results are being used todetermine which teaching method, i.e. lecture or DLM, is more suitable for this specific topicand preliminary results are reported here.
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