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Is Student Performance in CHE Core Courses Affected by Time Elapsed Since Completion of Material and Energy Balance Course Sequence?

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Instructional and Learning Assessment in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kevin D. Dahm Rowan University

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Kevin Dahm is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. He earned his BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (92) and his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (98). He has published two books, "Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics" and "Interpreting Diffuse Reflectance and Transmittance." He has also published papers on effective use of simulation in engineering, teaching design and engineering economics, and assessment of student learning.

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Mariano Javier Savelski Rowan University

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Professor and Department Head of Chemical Engineering

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Mary Staehle Rowan University

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Dr. Mary Staehle is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University. Before joining the faculty at Rowan, Dr. Staehle worked at the Daniel Baugh Institute for Functional Genomics and Computational Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. Her research is in the area of biomedical control systems, specifically neural regeneration. Dr. Staehle is also particularly interested in biomedical and chemical engineering education.

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Joseph Francis Stanzione III Rowan University

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Joseph Stanzione, III received his M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University and his Ph.D. at the University of Delaware under the directions of Professor Giuseppe Palmese and Professor Richard Wool, respectively. He then joined the chemical engineering faculty of Rowan University in 2013. His teaching interests include thermodynamics; principles of chemical processes; polymer science and engineering; green/sustainable chemistry and engineering; and bio-based materials. His research program focuses on the utilization of woody biomass as an alternative renewable chemicals feedstock; green chemistry and engineering for the development of next-generation lignocellulosic biorefineries; and bio-based polymers and composites for high-performance, biomedical, and energy applications. His work has resulted in two patent applications and publications in journals such as Green Chemistry; ChemSusChem; and ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. Additionally, he is a graduate of the 2010 ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy, has been annually attending the ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) conference since 2009, was a conference organizing committee co-chair of this year’s ACS GC&E, and is a co-recipient of U.S. EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2013.

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This paper will examine the effect of time elapsed between completion of the material and energy balances (MEB) course sequence and the start of other core chemical engineering (CHE) courses for which MEB are prerequisite. The typical MEB sequence in the curriculum at XXXX University is a sophomore-level two-course sequence that covers material balances in the Fall semester and energy balances in the Spring semester. In this study, two cohorts are being tracked: one took MEB as an on-line, condensed in time, and asynchronous single course in the Summer of 2014 as rising sophomores, and the other took it during the 2014/2015 academic year as sophomores, following the typical sequence. Student mastery of MEB as of the completion of the course has been measured through course grades and through assessment rubrics applied to exam problem solutions. These two cohorts are currently enrolled in four junior CHE courses simultaneously in the Fall 2015 Semester: Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics I, Separations I, Heat Transfer Operations, and Process Fluid Transport. The students will have completed these courses prior to the draft paper deadline. In order to determine whether the time gap between completing the MEB sequence and starting the junior-level CHE coursework influences student success in the junior-level courses, the relationships between student mastery of MEB and course grades for each cohort in each of the four junior courses will be quantified and compared.

Dahm, K. D., & Savelski, M. J., & Staehle, M., & Stanzione, J. F. (2016, June), Is Student Performance in CHE Core Courses Affected by Time Elapsed Since Completion of Material and Energy Balance Course Sequence? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25500

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