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Leading an Effective Unit Operations Lab Course

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Labs and Experiments

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


John Dee Clay Ohio State University

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Dr. Clay is currently a clinical faculty member in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. He received a BS in ChE from the University of Toledo in 1992 and a MS and PhD from OSU in 1994 and 1997, respectively. Since graduating from OSU, Dr. Clay has worked at Battelle, a contract research firm headquartered in Columbus, OH. Dr. Clay was an adjunct faculty member at OSU for approximately ten years before moving to the clinical faculty role in January, 2014. He has taught a variety of courses in the ChE department and currently focuses on the Unit Operations Laboratory, Mass and Energy Balances, and Separations. He completed the National Effective Teaching Institute course (NETI-1) in June, 2016. Dr. Clay is married to Dr. Kristy Clay, a veterinarian, and has three children, Luke (14), Natalie (14), and Meredith (12).

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This paper is focused on the logistics and unique learning opportunities present in supervising a Unit Operations laboratory course. The goal of this session is to provide chemical engineering faculty who will manage laboratory courses with proven best practices that are used in support of the Unit Operations Laboratory. High level learning objectives from this course include the following: • Plan efficient laboratory experiments to collect relevant data while minimizing error • Design and conduct experiments in the laboratory • Compare experimentally measured results with literature data and quantify the sources of error that contribute to differences between measured data and literature data • Prepare high quality written reports and oral presentations to summarize a project in a professional and informative manner. • Practice effective group dynamics to work as a member of a team • Apply safe laboratory practices important in the chemical industry, including laboratory safety protocols, interpretation of material safety data sheets (MSDS), and proper handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals. This presentation is geared to faculty who will lead or assist with chemical engineering laboratory sessions. The expected outcome for faculty includes an understanding of the how these learning objectives are realized in the course through a variety of student assessments. Participants in the session will be able to identify tools and techniques that have proven effective in the Unit Operations Laboratory, enabling them to tailor these tools and techniques for their own laboratory courses. Specific content in the session is divided into three parts. First, the session will provide an overview of the Unit Operations Laboratory, including d details on how the course is integrated into the curriculum and learning objectives from the laboratory. Second, the session will summarize management of the lab, including course setup and details relevant to a professor running a chemical engineering laboratory course. This will include the syllabus, expectations for laboratory reports, training resources for teaching assistants, grading rubrics, and the approach to safety. Third, the session will focus on an example experiment and will walk through two weeks in the semester, providing a detailed look at all of the steps required to get the lab ready for the students, conduct the experiment, support the report writing, and grade the laboratory report.

Clay, J. D. (2017, June), Leading an Effective Unit Operations Lab Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28607

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