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Impact of Immersive Training on Senior Chemical Engineering Students' Prioritization of Process Safety Decision Criteria

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Experiential Learning in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://216.185.13.174/37283

Download Count

9

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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Stransky Rowan University

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Jeff joined the field of engineering education after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rowan University in May 2019. He conducted research as part of his senior design course on the analysis of Process Safety Decision Making data gathered from a digital immersive environment. He will continue his research on engineering student behavior towards a doctoral dissertation through Rowan's ExEEd Engineering Department under the U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship Program Grant Number P200A180055.

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Caleb Hill

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Robert John McErlean Rowan University

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Jacob Willetts Rowan University

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Landon Bassett University of Connecticut

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Landon Bassett is a graduate student at the University of Connecticut who focuses primarily on undergraduate engineering ethics and process safety

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Daniel D. Anastasio Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Daniel Anastasio is an assistant professor at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He received a B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 2009 and 2015, respectively. His primary areas of research are game-based learning in engineering courses and membrane separations for desalination and water purification.

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Daniel D. Burkey University of Connecticut

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Daniel Burkey is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1998, and his M.S.C.E.P and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000 and 2003, respectively. His primary areas of interest are game-based education, engineering ethics, and process safety education.

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Matthew Cooper North Carolina State University at Raleigh Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1060-4628

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Dr. Matthew Cooper is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University where he teaches courses in Senior Design, Unit Operations, Transport Phenomena, Material & Energy Balances and Mathematical/Computational Methods. Dr. Cooper’s research interests include effective teaching, process safety education and conceptual learning.

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Cheryl A. Bodnar Rowan University

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Dr. Bodnar is an Associate Professor in the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. Her research interests relate to the incorporation of active learning techniques such as game-based learning in undergraduate classes as well as integration of innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum. In particular, she is interested in the impact that these tools can have on student perception of the classroom environment, motivation and learning outcomes. She was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium in 2013, awarded the American Society for Engineering Education Educational Research Methods Faculty Apprentice Award in 2014 and the Raymond W. Fahien Award for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship presented by American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Chemical Engineering Division in 2017.

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Abstract

Every year new safety features and regulations are employed within the process industry to reduce risks associated with operations. Despite these advancements chemical plants remain hazardous places, and the role of the engineer will always involve risk mitigation through real time decision making. Results from a previous study by Kongsvik et al., 2015 indicated that there were three types of decisions in major chemical plants: strategic decisions, operational decisions, and instantaneous decisions. The study showed the importance for improving upon engineers’ operational and instantaneous choices when tasked with quick solutions in the workforce. In this research study, we dive deeper to understand how senior chemical engineering students’ prioritize components of decision making such as budget, productivity, relationships, safety, and time, and how this prioritization may change as a result of participation in a digital immersive training environment called Contents Under Pressure. More specifically, we seek to address the following two research questions: (1) How do senior chemical engineering students prioritize safety in comparison to criteria such as budget, personal relationships, plant productivity, and time in a process safety context, and (2) How does senior chemical engineering students’ prioritization of decision making criteria (budget, personal relationships, plant productivity, safety, and time) change after exposure to a virtual process safety decision making environment?

As part of this study, 187 senior chemical engineering students from three separate institutions completed a pre- and post-reflection survey around their engagement with Contents Under Pressure and asked them to rank their prioritizations of budget, productivity, relationships, safety, and time. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, and Friedman and Wilcoxon-sign-rank post hoc analyses were completed to determine any statistical differences between the rankings of decision making factors before and after engagement with Contents Under Pressure. Simulating process safety decision making with interactive educational supports may increase students’ understanding of genuine workplace environments and factors that contribute to process safety, without the real world hazards that result from poor decision making. By understanding how students prioritize these factors, chemical engineering curricula can be adapted to focus on the areas of process safety decision making where students need the largest improvement, thereby better preparing them to enter the engineering workforce.

Stransky, J., & Hill, C., & McErlean, R. J., & Willetts, J., & Bassett, L., & Anastasio, D. D., & Burkey, D. D., & Cooper, M., & Bodnar, C. A. (2021, July), Impact of Immersive Training on Senior Chemical Engineering Students' Prioritization of Process Safety Decision Criteria Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://216.185.13.174/37283

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