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Developing and Testing an Electronic Homework System to Improve Student Engagement and Learning in Engineering Thermodynamics

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Autograding and Autoadvising

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Stephen W. Crown University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

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Dr. Crown is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the director of the Edinburg Texas Pre-Freshman Engineering Program and has served as PI and Co-PI on several large engineering education grants to improve pedagogy and access to online resources that positively impact measurable student learning outcomes.

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Constantine Tarawneh University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Tarawneh is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) where he worked since 2003. He obtained his MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in 1999 and 2003, respectively. He founded the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) in 2013 and serves as the Center Director. He also serves as the Associate Dean for Research for the College of Engineering and Computer Science since 2016. His various research and educational activities have resulted in more than $17 Million in funding from federal, industry, state, and local sources. He has more than thirteen years of experience conducting a variety of railroad research with emphasis on advanced bearing condition monitoring techniques. He received 26 teaching, mentoring, and research awards highlighted by the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009. In Fall of 2017, he was appointed as the Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Endowed Professor in Engineering. To date he has taught 24 different courses in his discipline.

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Jazmín Ley University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley Orcid 16x16

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Jazmín Ley was born on December 26, 1980 in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico to Mr. Jose Gabriel Ley and Mrs. Maria del Rosario Ley. Thanks to her college mentor and professor Dr. Hashim Mahdi, she found herself enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Master’s Program. While working on her masters, she became involved in research for the railroad industry under the mentorship of the faculty involved in the Railroad Research Team. She worked as a full-time Research Assistant at what is now known as the Railway Safety Center continuing her work on sensor technology for Amsted Rail and their subsidiaries. After her work with the Railroad Research Team, she worked in Texas State Technical College as Department Chair of the Associate of Science in Engineering Program. She currently works in The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and teaches introduction to engineering materials and engineering materials laboratory, engineering graphics, dynamics, numerical methods, and engineering vibrations.

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An electronic homework delivery system was developed for an advanced undergraduate engineering thermodynamics course due to limitations in available electronic homework systems. A commercially available system was effectively used in the introductory course for simple problems. The complexity of problems in the advanced course made adoption of the same system problematic as students needed feedback in the problem solving process. A system was devised that delivers individual problems to each student, provides feedback throughout the process, and records results for assessment. The system has helped students become more active in homework assignments in both completing assignments and in doing original work. Over time, students would share general solutions from previous semesters and shortcut a deeper understanding of the problems. A recent addition to the system has been the introduction of problems that are based on fundamental concepts rather than using the right equation to get the correct numerical answer. A successful example gives students a randomly generated 4-6 state heat engine cycle (from 200 developed cycles) that does not correlate with any cycle in literature. Students are forced to work through the basic steps of evaluating a new process which is theirs alone without being aided by a Google search or a classmate. The overall impact of the system and the latest addition on student learning is presented.

Crown, S. W., & Tarawneh, C., & Ley, J. (2018, June), Developing and Testing an Electronic Homework System to Improve Student Engagement and Learning in Engineering Thermodynamics Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30303

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