June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Energy Conversion and Conservation
12.715.1 - 12.715.9
Experiences and Teaching Tools in Alternative Energy Education
Alternative Energy programs are emerging as a result of the growing need to develop the economy of the future that will rely not only on fossil fuels, but also on renewable and clean energy sources. The new generation of engineers that will support this shift in the energy production must develop truly multidisciplinary skills and be able to respond efficiently to various aspects of the alternative energy technology. “Fuel Cells for Portable Electronics” is a new course thought as a part of the alternative energy curriculum. The initial experience in teaching this course is presented in this paper. It underscores potential challenges because of the fact that engineering students join the graduate program in alternative energy from a variety of engineering backgrounds and with inconsistent knowledge of basic chemistry. The paper reports differences in student abilities to understand the fundamental electrochemistry concepts absolutely crucial for the subsequent introduction of more complex and practical fuel cell design and evaluation methods. A cursory comparison of test results revealed clear dependence on the student demographics. A qualitative conclusion was drawn recommending proper monitoring, exchange of experiences, and possible modification of prerequisites. Furthermore, a simple mnemonic tool was presented as an effective method to teach electrochemistry to engineering students.
The main objective of this paper is to bring awareness about challenges when teaching energy related courses, such as those dealing with fuel cells, to engineering students of variable prior exposure to chemistry. Furthermore, the paper contains a discussion of the novel and entertaining methods for overcoming the lack of fundamental knowledge of electrochemistry for those students with little or rudimentary understanding of electrochemical principles while not sacrificing the ultimate outcomes of course, which are to provide practical, industry ready skills. These methods introduce equally challenging concept of designing an engineering course with ultimate integral quality expressed through a complete, interconnected understanding of the overall main objectives rather than fragmented knowledge acceptance typical for students with not well defined foundations. The paper also reflects the experience from working with limited student population and can only claim qualitative importance and informative character. As the alternative energy education becomes more important and a “main-stream” concentration for many institutions the observations and methods presented here could stand to gain validity and pave the way for a more “awakened” approach to teaching the alternative energy.
The particular research data on the curriculum flexibility in engineering education was acquired at the Arizona State University at the Polytechnic campus. The Polytechnic was established in 1996 and the student enrolment grew from 1,016 in 1996 to 6,545 in 2006. The number of degrees offered is 30 baccalaureate and 12 graduate degrees. The mission of the College of Technology and Applied Sciences is to offer high-quality, problem oriented, learn-by-doing
Petrovic, S., & Munukutla, L., & Robertson, J. (2007, June), Experiences And Teaching Tools In Alternative Energy Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2810
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