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Inspiring Students to Learn Fluid Mechanics through Engagement with

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Use of Technology in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.887.1 - 22.887.10



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Paper Authors


Diane L. Bondehagen Florida Gulf Coast University

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Diane Bondehagen is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering, U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering, Florida Gulf Coast University. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1983, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Florida International University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida in 2005. Dr. Bondehagen joined FGCU after a research and teaching position at the University of Florida. Dr. Bondehagen is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Her current research interests are in the area of contaminant transport and remediation.

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Inspiring Students to Learn Fluid Mechanics through Engagement with Real World ProblemsAbstractFaculty often experience many challenges in teaching Fluid Mechanics. At Florida Gulf CoastUniversity, this course is taught to combined sections of civil and environmental engineeringstudents. Students often express fear at the course difficulty and a feeling of “wanting to get itover with”. The challenge then for faculty is to motivate the students’ desire to understand thematerial and to help the students understand the importance of the material not only to theirsubsequent coursework but also in becoming “Fluid Mechanics Literate” in a world aboundingwith scientific challenges related to basic fluid mechanics. To this end, Life-Long Learning isincorporated in current Engineering Fluid Mechanics course objectives. This is in keeping withone of the ABET outcomes for our students: recognition of the need for, and an ability to engagein life-long learning.To achieve these objectives, our current course includes two life-long learning assignments. Thefirst assignment involved the application of Fluid Mechanics fundamentals to oil spills/leaks indeep water; the current real world example is the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. In our region ofthe country, this problem resonates deeply with students. The students are asked to write a 2-3page report with reference to the application of Fluid Mechanics fundamental principles to oilspills (quantifying mass, capping the wells, clean-up practices). These principles includehydrostatic forces on submerged plane/curved surfaces, surface tension effects of the use of oildispersants, Bernoulli energy equation in relation to pressure, velocity and elevation heads. Thesecond assignment will include a choice of topics including damaged infrastructure effects onsystemic energy losses, modeling analysis including representing flow field quantities such asvelocity, pressure or temperature. The students will also have the option of expanding their firstreport on oil spills in the second report.Assessment techniques are employed in this course to evaluate the life-long learning outcome.Two surveys will be administered after each report where the students themselves report on thevalue of this exercise to their engagement and effective learning in the class. Additionally, a quizand the final will provide further assessment of learning via directed questions. These results willbe analyzed to report on whether student engagement and performance in the class improvedfrom identifying fluid mechanics aspects of real world problems.

Bondehagen, D. L. (2011, June), Inspiring Students to Learn Fluid Mechanics through Engagement with Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18190

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