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Interactive Energy Courseware

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Computer Applications in Energy Courses

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.780.1 - 13.780.14



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Paper Authors

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Peter Idowu Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg

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

Interactive Energy Courseware


Innovative methods for teaching engineering concepts are receiving broader attention in a variety of contexts. This is in keeping with the perception that improvements is content delivery tools and techniques would further sustain students’ interests in the various topics, as well as enhance comprehension or understanding of difficult topics. This paper presents four interactive learning tools that were developed by students in the energy systems and conversion course – (1) Energy calculator, (2) Off-line energy database, (3) Energy Jeopardy quiz game and (4) Appliance energy audit system. The tools are developed primarily to enable junior-level students learn and review some concepts learned in the semester course.


The use of interactive learning tools in advancing engineering education has steadily gained support and enthusiasm among faculty ranks across the disciplines and internationally. In many cases it has been argued persuasively that students’ performance improved in courses that use some form of interactive courseware as an instructional adjunct. A number of case studies [6] show instructor-developed courseware facilitates the development of student-centered learning environment; provides the tool for asynchronous learning; addresses space limitation issues and significantly increase access to educational resources. Application of courseware tools in thermodynamics [3], soil mechanics [4], structural analysis [7], and industrial engineering [8] were favorably received by students enrolled in those courses. The tools offer them a self-paced learning mechanism, acts as supplement to the course textbook and made possible the formation of collaborative learning communities in the industrial engineering course [8].

For quite some time simulation packages are used extensively as the basic interactive learning tool because they are relatively affordable and easy to use, in contrast to developing custom tools for learning purposes. Simulation packages however generally make assumption about user’s background, the engineering methodology they were previously exposed to and the visual metaphors used in communicating concepts [1]. These may impact the effectiveness of the tool for a category of learners who do not fit those assumptions.

As many more instructors are expected to infuse some form of technology into their instructional repertoire because of the credible benefits in student engagement, efficient courseware development strategy is becoming paramount. A sample of such visual courseware authoring tool is discussed by Lau and Mak [5], and offered as an instructor- enabling medium that would encourage instructors to devote time and effort to content and not towards becoming web application expert. Others have advocated platform-

Idowu, P. (2008, June), Interactive Energy Courseware Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3865

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