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Brainstorming Exercises As An Active Learning Component Of Thermal System Courses

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.268.1 - 10.268.14



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Paper Authors

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Patrick Tebbe

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3533

BRAINSTORMING EXERCISES AS AN ACTIVE LEARNING COMPONENT OF THERMAL SYSTEMS COURSES Patrick A. Tebbe Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, MN 56001

Abstract Several active learning exercises have been developed and tested for the Thermal/Fluid Systems Design and Thermodynamics courses. It was found that active learning exercises could be used to do more than just engage the students. The exercises can be tailored to promote the development of specific engineering skills and can be used to replace lecture coverage of certain topics. Overall the exercises were found more favorable to students than traditional lectures, promoted teamwork skills, and sponsored creative thinking. Student interest in energy related topics was also encouraged. In this paper several active learning exercises used in the Thermal/Fluid Systems Design and Thermodynamics courses will be presented. Example problem descriptions and exercise references are provided along with student and instructor observations. Lessons which the instructor has learned regarding exercise formation and use will be presented to aid others in formulating similar activities.

1. Introduction

During the Fall 2004 semester the author taught the Thermal/Fluid Systems Design course offered at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The course was composed of nine senior level undergraduate students. At the beginning of the semester it became obvious that several of the students had a limited view of what qualified as a thermal/fluid system. Since the course content did not strictly conform to their expectation of the topic a lack of interest was evident during some discussions. To help combat this, the students were asked to select a thermal/fluid system which they were interested in. They were to locate an article or journal paper discussing the system and present it at the next class. The intention was to better determine their interests and impressions of thermal/fluid systems so that these aspects could be actively engaged. Student topics ranged from the drying of grain to high pressure washers.

The thermal systems course was organized around four major design projects; three smaller ones which focused on an individual component of the thermal design process (i.e. process design, optimization, and cost analysis) and a larger cumulative design incorporating at least two of the three design components. Initially it was hoped that the student topics could be integrated as topics for these design projects. Unfortunately, formulating a suitable problem with sufficient background information proved to be too time consuming once the semester had already begun. An alternative method of incorporating more student interests in the course was therefore sought.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Tebbe, P. (2005, June), Brainstorming Exercises As An Active Learning Component Of Thermal System Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14806

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