June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Energy Conversion and Conservation
12.670.1 - 12.670.17
Enhancing Life-Long Learning and Communication Abilities through a Unique Series of Projects in Thermodynamics
Mechanical engineering courses in Thermodynamics typically provide a detailed treatment of the first and second laws of thermodynamics from a classical viewpoint in order to prepare students for subsequent courses and ultimately, engineering practice. Therefore, thermodynamics courses aim to strengthen a student’s theoretical base and improve analytical skills while focusing on the relevant and timely subject matter of how energy transfer in the form of heat is converted to energy transfer in the form of work. For many students in a thermodynamics class, this is their first opportunity to gain an understanding of how various cycles’ operate and how these same cycles can be analyzed, evaluated, and assessed. A certain level of excitement and enthusiasm can be associated with this new found insight and this paper presents two projects which have been designed to prolong and strengthen students’ interest in areas related to thermodynamics. In 2001, the projects were introduced into thermodynamics courses and over the past five years, each has been refined through an assessment process in order to improve student learning while achieving intended learning objectives. The first is an individual project within Thermodynamics which requires the student to critically read a technical book (selected by student and approved by professor), technically review the book in written form, and orally present results to the class in an informal setting. The second is a team project within Advanced Thermodynamics which requires student teams to create and present a fifteen to thirty minute long presentation/demonstration for a non-technical audience of their choice (pending professor approval). The content of the presentation must strongly relate to Thermodynamics and have direct relevance to the audience. Past student teams have presented to a variety of audiences ranging from college level liberal arts classes to middle and high school science, math, and technology classes.
This paper includes an overview of both projects in their current forms; results of project assessment, including samples of student feedback, which have been collected and analyzed over the past five years; the strategy used during department-level assessment to support outcomes related to life-long learning, communication, and team work abilities; experience gained through translation of projects to other courses; and future plans for project refinement.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has one of the oldest cooperative education programs in the country and therefore RIT firmly believes in learning through doing. The RIT Mechanical Engineering Department offers an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited degree in mechanical engineering (ME). Each fall, approximately 165 entering first year students select mechanical engineering as a major. All ME majors enroll in Thermodynamics (ME 413) during their second or third years while a subset enrolls in Advanced
Proceedings of the 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2007, American Society for Engineering Education
Bailey, M. (2007, June), Enhancing Lifelong Learning And Communication Abilities Through A Unique Series Of Projects In Thermodynamics Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2582
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