Asee peer logo

Bi-Modal No More Shifting the Curve in Material and Energy Balances Courses

Download Paper |

Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Focus on Entry Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

7

Page Numbers

22.286.1 - 22.286.7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17567

Download Count

15

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Suzanne M. Kresta University of Alberta

visit author page

Suzanne Kresta is a Professor at the University of Alberta who has been teaching process analysis since 1994. During the last 15 years, her class sizes have doubled but the student performance on mastery of the material has improved. In 2011, the University recognized her work in this course with an Alexander Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

visit author page

biography

Inci Ayranci University of Alberta

visit author page

Inci Ayranci is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta. As part of the Fraser & Shirley Russell Teaching Fellowship, she is teaching material and energy balances to second year students under the supervision of Dr. Suzanne Kresta.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Bi-modal No More Shifting the Curve in Material and Energy Balances Courses Common wisdom states that a bi-modal distribution in process analysis is “normal”, with asignificant number of students needing to take the course twice before they “get” the material. Asclass sizes in second year chemical engineering at the University of Alberta have grown to over100 students, we took a hard look at the root causes of this distribution. The goal was toconsciously uncover and remove barriers to student learning which result in the “bi-modaldistribution”. The solutions include visual learning, experiential learning, industrial bestpractices and structured problem solving techniques which are now embedded in the course. Themodified teaching approach progresses in three stages: first, vocabulary building throughresearch on a specific process, through flowsheet construction, and problem statementdeconstruction; second, structured visual problem solving tools which are also the back bone ofindustrial best practice; third, active learning exercises throughout the course to pull outquestions and ensure that students are well prepared to tackle problems independently beforethey get stuck; fourth, problem solving groups which hand in their solutions together. Whilethere is still see a tail in our distributions, the lower hump in the curve has disappeared. This is aclear indication that we are reaching and helping students who previously were lost andbewildered, as well as improving the learning experience for all of the students in the class.These teaching methods take relatively little effort to implement in the classroom, and create adynamic learning environment based on interaction and critical thinking which is more fun toteach than the stress laden environment more typically associated with bimodal performance.

Kresta, S. M., & Ayranci, I. (2011, June), Bi-Modal No More Shifting the Curve in Material and Energy Balances Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17567

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015