June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Energy Conversion and Conservation
23.727.1 - 23.727.24
Incorporating Active Learning into a Thermal System Design LectureMany mechanical engineering departments offer a thermal systems design (or similar) course forsenior students. Some courses have a laboratory component, but many are a lecture only format.This paper demonstrates how active learning—through virtual labs, a semester long project, andin-class assignments—can be incorporated into the lecture portion of a thermal systems designcourse to enhance learning and give the students a laboratory experience without a physicallaboratory. The active learning ideas can also supplement the learning during lecture for thosecourses which have a designated laboratory time.The model for active learning in a thermal systems design course was used by the authors forthree courses at two universities, in which the course was taught in a lecture only setting. Thelecture was held in a computer lab for at least one hour per week (out of the 3 hours of lecturetime per week), and used Engineering Equation Solver (EES) software to facilitate the activities.The authors used virtual labs, short in-class assignments, and a semester long project toencourage exploration of the lecture topics by the students.Short in-class assignments can replace examples done in class on the board by the instructor. Forexample, the students were given a partial code and asked to complete the engineering analysisand check answers. Virtual labs are easy to implement in EES, and can be run during the lecturetime by the students. A benefit of virtual labs (even for courses having a physical lab) is thatcostly—both in time and money—scenarios can be explored: such as using different refrigerantsin a system, or determining when a system might fail. A semester-long project that is guided andworked on during lecture not only gives the students an opportunity to incorporate the lecturetopics into one working model, but also gives the instructor time to work with the students inclass to answer questions and ensure the students are on the right track toward a solution.Incorporating active learning into a thermal systems design course can give students more handson experience than a lecture only format. Student feedback from the courses indicates that thestudents enjoyed doing the semester long project, and learning EES. In addition, the studentslearn about team work, and professional writing while doing the semester long project, as well astake an active role in their learning for the semester.
Peuker, J. M., & Peuker, S. (2013, June), Incorporating Active Learning into a Thermal System Design Lecture Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19741
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