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Development of Authentic Engineering Problems for Problem-centered Learning

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Yen-Lin Han Seattle University

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Yen-Lin Han is an Assistant Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University. Her research interests include micro-scale Molecular Gas Dynamics and heat transfer applications such as the Knudsen Compressor, a temperature driven micropump with no moving parts. Her work in experimental and computational investigations of gas transport phenomena has been published in high impact journals including Physics of Fluids, Applied Materials and Interfaces, and Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems. She also holds the patent for the continuous trace gas separator.

She is passionate about Engineering Education and has been teaching undergraduate Heat Transfer since 2006. She taught the course in both traditional and IC/AEPCL (Inverted Classroom/ Authentic Engineering Problem Centered Learning) formats. She is experienced in developing IC lectures and facilitating students’ learning through authentic engineering problems.

Dr. Han received her BS degree in Material Science and Engineering from Nation Tasing-Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, her PhD degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and MS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. She is a member of American Society of Engineering Education and American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

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Kathleen E. Cook Seattle University

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Kathleen Cook, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Seattle University. Dr. Cook received her doctorate in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of Washington, with a minor in quantitative methods and emphases in cognitive and educational psychology. Her research has included classroom learning, person perception, health perceptions, and jury decision making.

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Teodora Rutar Shuman Seattle University

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Teodora Rutar Shuman is a Mechanical Engineering Department Chair and an Associate Professor at Seattle University. Her research includes electro-mechanical systems for sustainable processing of microalgae, NOx formation in lean-premixed combustion, and innovative teaching methods and assessment techniques. Her work is published in venues including the Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Education, Bioresource Technology, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, and Combustion and Flame. She is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and the Algae Biomass Organization. Dr. Shuman serves as Chair-Elect for the ASEE Energy Conversion and Conservation Division in 2015-16 year.

She received a Dipl.Ing. degree in mechanical engineering from Belgrade University in 1992, an M.S.M.E. from the University of Washington in 1994 and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2000.

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Gregory Mason Seattle University

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Gregory S. Mason was born and raised in Spokane Washington. He received the B.S.M.E. degree from Gonzaga University in 1983, the M.S.M.E. degree in manufacturing automation from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1984 and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering, specializing in multi-rate digital controls, from the University of Washington in 1992.
He worked in a robotics lab for the Department of Defense for five years after receiving his M.S.M.E. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University, Seattle, WA. His research interests are controls system and the use of technology to enhance engineering education.
Dr. Mason is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer.

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In 2013, Seattle University was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop an instructional framework that promotes self-directed learning and enhances problem-solving skills in undergraduate engineering students without sacrificing knowledge of fundamental engineering principles. The framework was designed for implementation in an undergraduate heat transfer course. The instructional framework used an Inverted Classroom (IC) to free class time. Material traditionally covered in a lecture format was made available through an online learning management system and moved outside of class time. During class time, student teams worked on authentic engineering problems (AEP) that addressed different heat transfer topics. These AEPs were conceptualized and designed by industrial partners, who are practicing engineers in aerospace, medical device, HVAC, and process industries. AEPs were developed in consultation with thermal systems faculty and address specific topics in the heat transfer curriculum. Industrial partners delivered the problems directly to the students. After two weeks of working on these problems student teams presented their results to the entire class. Their presentations and results were assessed by the industrial partner who developed the problem and a thermal systems faculty member who does not teach heat transfer. This paper describes the five AEPs, and how the AEPs were used in the course.

Han, Y., & Cook, K. E., & Shuman, T. R., & Mason, G. (2016, June), Development of Authentic Engineering Problems for Problem-centered Learning Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26821

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