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Design for Impact: Reimagining Inquiry-Based Activities in Heat Transfer for Effectiveness and Ease of Faculty Adoption

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.463.1 - 26.463.4



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Paper Authors


Margot A Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot Vigeant is a professor of chemical engineering and an associate dean of engineering at Bucknell University. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and her M.S. and Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, from the University of Virginia. Her primary research focus is on engineering pedagogy at the undergraduate level. She is particularly interested in the teaching and learning of concepts related to thermodynamics. She is also interested in active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, and in the ways hands-on activities and technology in general and games in particular can be used to improve student engagement.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University


Katharyn E. K. Nottis Bucknell University

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Dr. Nottis is an Educational Psychologist and Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her research has focused on meaningful learning in science and engineering education, approached from the perspective of Human Constructivism. She has authored several publications and given numerous presentations on the generation of analogies, misconceptions, and facilitating learning in science and engineering education. She has been involved in collaborative research projects focused on conceptual learning in chemistry, chemical engineering, seismology, and astronomy.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

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In  our  prior  work,  we  developed  a  collection  of  inquiry-­‐based  activities  to  repair  engineering  students’  misconceptions  in  the  areas  of  heat  transfer  and  thermodynamics.    Students  who  used  these  activities  in  laboratories  scored  significantly  higher  on  subsequent  concept  inventories.        This  work  has  three  goals,  and  after  two  years  of  work  we  have  completed  the  first  and  are  nearing  completion  of  the  second  goal.    First,  we  re-­‐designed  our  inquiry-­‐based  activities  for  heat  transfer  by  specifically  modifying  them  in  ways  that  make  them  easier  for  faculty  to  implement  in  the  classroom.    The  original  activities  rely  largely  on  student  experiment,  and  faculty  comments  discussed  how  money,  space,  and  time  all  constrained  their  ability  to  assign  experiments  to  small  groups  of  students.    Based  on  this  feedback,  we  have  produced  four  new  variations  on  the  inquiry-­‐based  activities.    These  involve:  a)  replacing  the  students’  experiments  with  simulations;  b)  replacing  the  students’  experiments  with  the  students  observing  the  experiment  as  an  in-­‐class  demonstration;  c)  the  students’  watching  the  simulation  as  an  in-­‐class  demonstration  and  d)  replacing  both  simulation  and  experiment  with  an  in-­‐class  thought  experiment.        Our  second  goal,  which  is  nearing  completion,  is  testing  variations  a-­‐d  at  a  number  of  different  institutions  and  observing  the  impact  on  students’  conceptual  understanding.    We  will  use  students  concept  inventory  scores,  as  well  as  faculty  feedback  on  ease-­‐of-­‐use,  to  judge  the  effectiveness  and  usability  of  each  variation.        Third  and  finally,  in  the  coming  academic  year,  we  will  provide  both  the  full  menu  of  activities  and  the  effectiveness  data  to  faculty  broadly  and  monitor  the  adoption  “in  the  wild”.        

Vigeant, M. A., & Prince, M. J., & Nottis, K. E. K., & Koretsky, M. (2015, June), Design for Impact: Reimagining Inquiry-Based Activities in Heat Transfer for Effectiveness and Ease of Faculty Adoption Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23801

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