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Introducing Reality Into Process Control Classes: Team Work At A Distance

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Conference

2005 Annual Conference

Location

Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovations in ChE Labs

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

10.830.1 - 10.830.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15477

Download Count

11

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Paper Authors

author page

Richard Zollars

author page

Jim Henry

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

Introducing Reality into Process Control Classes

Jim Henry, Richard Zollars University of Tennessee at Chattanooga / Washington State University

Abstract

Over the past two years the students in the process control class at Washington State University have been using the process equipment at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga) via an Internet connection to obtain data from real processing equipment. A drawback of this arrangement is the fact that students at the remote locations cannot address equipment malfunctions on a timely basis. This year we have teamed students at the two institutions to help correct this weakness as well as providing an opportunity to have the students have experiences with communication tasks. This teaming approach proved to be partially successful. When it worked, it worked very well. When time conflicts arose, specifically near the end of the semester, the communication did not work as well for many of the students resulting in a less than desirable outcome. Plans are being formulated to correct this in the future.

Introduction

Providing hands-on, or learn-by-doing, experiences for engineering students is often complicated by either a lack of equipment, technician support or both. Yet most topics in chemical engineering are best learned via a learn-by-doing approach. Computer simulations have been used in lieu of a truly hands-on experience but these are often lacking in the fullness of details that real systems provide. With the advent of high-speed Internet communications an alternative approach to providing hands-on experiences has become possible – remote operation of real equipment. Such remote operation experiences are fully learn-by-doing with nearly all the positive and negative aspects of true hands-on laboratory work. Such an approach can, however, be frustrating for students at the remote site if the equipment malfunctions.

During the past two years the process control class at Washington State University (WSU) was taught using both of these approaches. Computer simulations for process identification and control were provided using Control Station® (http://ww.controlstation.com). Remote operation of actual equipment for the same purposes was provided via an Internet connection to the Resource Center for Engineering Laboratories on the Web (http://chem.engr.utc.edu) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Comments from WSU students about the desirability of being able

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Zollars, R., & Henry, J. (2005, June), Introducing Reality Into Process Control Classes: Team Work At A Distance Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15477

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