Asee peer logo

Making Student Conference Trips An Assessable Learning Opportunity

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Innovation for ChE Student Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.908.1 - 10.908.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

David Silverstein

Download Paper |

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

Making Student Conference Trips an Assessable Learning Opportunity David L. Silverstein University of Kentucky


There never seems to be enough class time in any course. Student participation in conferences, particularly when combined with faculty absences, causes strain on an already tight course schedule. Since students are already attending a conference for reasons that are ostensibly educational in nature, why not utilize the opportunity to provide for an assessable contribution towards course and program learning objectives? In addition to course specific objectives, this project contributes towards ABET EC2000 expected outcomes in multidisciplinary teams, life-long learning, communications, and contemporary issues. The paper discusses the how attendance at the 2003 and 2004 AIChE National Student Conferences was used to meet objectives for courses at all levels of the chemical engineering curriculum at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky. Students from multiple courses were assigned roles as part of a start-up bio-tech or nano-tech company with indecisive management. The student’s role was to determine ahead of the conference a product or process in which the company should engage, keeping in mind the opportunities available at the conference. Students attending the conference then collected information from technical talks and from exhibitors relevant to their company’s proposed focus. Students not attending the conference collected information from library, vendor, and internet sources. Each student was responsible for topics relevant to their role in the company as defined by the chemical engineering courses in which they were enrolled. Upon their return, the teams prepared reports summarizing their proposal and findings. The graded reports counted as homework assignments in each participating course, and the team report writing time was credited to all students to make up for one of the class periods missed during the conference.

Assessment data collected to date indicates students developed a familiarity with emerging areas in chemical engineering (biotechnology and nanotechnology) well beyond what they would have learned through class assignments alone. Senior team leaders developed management skills in dealing not only with their classmates, but with some students whom they had never met. Underclassmen developed working relationships with upperclassmen which have led to improved interaction amongst students of all class standings. The biggest flaws with the first implementation are addressed in the second implementation, specifically a lack of teamwork training and a lack of preparation for group leaders.


Every November, there is one week students look forward to more than most. It is not Thanksgiving Week, when students plan to work (but do not actually work) on their Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Silverstein, D. (2005, June), Making Student Conference Trips An Assessable Learning Opportunity Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15194

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: © 2005 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