Asee peer logo

Instructional Software: If You Build It, They May Or May Not Come

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.600.1 - 6.600.6



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Amy Roskowski

author page

Richard M. Felder

author page

Lisa Bullard

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1630

INSTRUCTIONAL SOFTWARE: IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY MAY OR MAY NOT COME A. Michel Roskowski, Richard M. Felder, and Lisa G. Bullard Department of Chemical Engineering North Carolina State University


Student use of an instructional and computational software package for the introductory chemical engineering course was investigated in four separate course offerings in two semesters. In two offerings in the Fall of 1999 the courseware was demonstrated and included in an early homework assignment, with no further action begin taken to encourage its use, and in the two Fall 2000 offerings the students had to use the courseware in several early homework problems and questions about it were included on tests. The fact that the students used the courseware more in the second semester offerings is not surprising, but the extent of the difference in usage is. With very few exceptions, the students in the first semester largely ignored the courseware, while those in the second semester used it extensively (far more than was required) and gave it highly positive ratings in a course-end survey, even though its use directly accounted for only about 0.01% of the final course grade. However instructive and visually attractive software may be, the cost of developing and producing it is wasted if its intended beneficiaries ignore it. The lesson of this study is that instructors who wish to make effective use of courseware must be proactive about getting their students to use it: simply making it available is not enough.


The introductory chemical engineering course at North Carolina State University (CHE 205 – Chemical Process Principles) covers basic engineering calculations, material and energy balances on non-reactive and reactive chemical processes, equations of state for ideal and non- ideal gases, and elementary phase equilibrium calculations. It is a 4-credit course comprising three lecture hours and a two-hour recitation session every week and is normally taken in the first semester of the sophomore year.

The course uses the textbook Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes by R.M. Felder and R.W. Rousseau.1 The latest edition of the text comes bundled with a CD-ROM courseware package called Interactive Chemical Process Principles (ICPP) developed by one of the text authors in conjunction with Intellipro, Inc. The package consists of (a) a set of six interactive instructional tutorials covering the major topics in the text, (b) a simple-to-use but powerful algebraic and differential equation-solving program called E-Z Solve, (c) a physical property database that (among other things) automates the tedious calculation of enthalpy changes for heating and cooling processes, (d) a multimedia Visual Encyclopedia of Chemical Engineering Equipment developed by Dr. Susan Montgomery of the University of Michigan, and (e) the Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Roskowski, A., & Felder, R. M., & Bullard, L. (2001, June), Instructional Software: If You Build It, They May Or May Not Come Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9401

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015