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Development Of Software Applications For Thermodynamics Related Courses: The Thermoview Project

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.380.1 - 6.380.6



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Paper Authors

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William Miller

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Stephen Lombardo

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Christa Weisbrook

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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: 1526

Development of Software Applications for Thermodynamics Related Courses: The THERMOVIEW Project

Dr. Patrick A. Tebbe The College of New Jersey

Dr. Christa Weisbrook, Dr. Stephen J. Lombardo, Dr. William Miller University of Missouri

Abstract The College of New Jersey and the University of Missouri are collaborating on a NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement proof-of-concept grant to develop educational software for use in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and thermal systems courses. The THERMOVIEW software is being designed within the LabVIEW programming environment. It is hoped that by making use of the visual environment of THERMOVIEW and LabVIEW that students will gain greater insights into the processes involved and the flavor, if not the actual feel, of how systems behave in the real world. The purpose of this paper and presentation will be to provide an overview of the project to date and a description of current evaluation results.

I. Introduction Advances in technology and pedagogy imply that the engineering curriculum must be periodically reformed or supplemented in order to provide the best education possible for students. Particular shortcomings must be addressed and improvements to the curriculum found. One challenge of engineering education is adequately accounting for different types of learners within a student body. Psychological types are known to exist which partially determine how a person learns. The theory most relevant to this proposal is the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model, which is commonly applied in engineering education. The Felder model specifies students as having a preference in five different dimensions; perception, input, processing, understanding, and organization [1]. Perception can occur by using external (sensory) input or by internal thought (intuitive). Information can be obtained using an input method of visual or verbal. Processing can be done through some form of "physical" activity (active) or by instrospection (reflective). Understanding can come from putting individual steps together sequentially or looking at the whole picture globally. Finally organization can be done inductively or deductively.

Studies of engineering students using the Felder learning inventory suggest that the majority prefer the active form of processing information. Many thermodynamic and fluid mechanics courses are organized along traditional methods of lecture and note taking, supplemented by problem solution. Typical courses are therefore organized for a passive reflective learning environment. In terms of processing information, engineering students have been shown to rely heavily on visual input. Since most classes are organized along the lecture method, however, teaching is done primarily verbally. While the majority of students prefer the sequential method of understanding, more than a quarter would make better use of a global method. Classroom

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, W., & Lombardo, S., & Weisbrook, C., & Tebbe, P. (2001, June), Development Of Software Applications For Thermodynamics Related Courses: The Thermoview Project Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9133

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