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Promoting Student Engagement In Thermodynamics With Engineering Scenarios

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

12.1208.1 - 12.1208.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2441

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

biography

Patrick Tebbe Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Patrick Tebbe is an Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Dr. Tebbe received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering as well as the M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He is currently a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

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biography

Stewart Ross Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Stewart Ross is the founding Director for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University. He holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Music Education from Northwestern University. He is an active presenter at colleges round the country on “Integrated Course Design.” He was Director of Bands at the university for 21 years prior to his appointment in the Center.

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Sharon Kvamme Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Sharon Kvamme is a graduating senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is a McNair scholar and currently serves as President of the local SWE student chapter. Sharon plans to continue her education at the graduate level in the thermal-fluids area.

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Brian Weninger Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Brian Weninger is a graduating senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Following graduation he is pursuing a Master of Science degree at Minnesota State.

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Jess Boardman Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Jess Boardman is a graduating senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He currently serves as the President of the local ASHRAE student chapter and plans to continue working at McNeilus Truck Manufacturing (MTM) following graduation.

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

Promoting Student Engagement in Thermodynamics with Engineering Scenarios

I. Introduction

Many of the thermo-fluids courses, and in particular Thermodynamics, are often taught with traditional teaching methods and textbooks. Thermodynamics, in particular, is prone to elicit a negative impression from students "who perceive the subject as dry and abstract.”1 While there has been progress in recent years, there are still limited visual aids depicting actual equipment or industry settings. Even though the topics covered often have a real-world basis they are generally simplified and only offer a superficial impression of industry applications. This is especially true in the first thermodynamics course which is theory heavy. The result is that many students have excessive difficulty with the subject and do not develop a "feel" for the topic or the associated real-world equipment2,3. Felder et al. have summarized this best by stating that without student interest or a belief in the need to learn the material, a course “stimulates neither interest nor motivation to learn. The fact that many students in these courses appear apathetic and do poorly…should not come as a surprise”.4

The relevant educational research and literature is clear in the belief that greater student impact, understanding, and retention can only be achieved with greater student engagement5. This engagement must come by presenting material and problems in the context of concrete applications or requirements and by connecting problems to the student’s pre-existing knowledge. A related deficiency exists within engineering design education. A common approach to promote design exposure is to attempt integration of real-world problems and design throughout the curriculum6. Normally this route involves the addition of one or more open-ended problems to a specific course. However, these problems are often assigned toward the end of the semester and are “by necessity limited in scope and complexity.”7 In addition, engineering programs continue to be criticized for not offering more experience with real-world applications8. In many cases only minimal information is presented on the “reality” or technological background of the problem and the design methods presented may be flawed and incomplete, especially in relation to real-world practices.

Many beginning thermodynamics courses are hampered by an inability to develop well-defined, feasible design problems around introductory topics9. A review of several of the major texts used for thermodynamics reveals that discussion of the working environment and methods used by practicing engineers are extremely limited. Design is largely integrated through the addition in each chapter of several Design and Open-Ended Problems.10,11,12 Often these problems lack well-defined instructional objectives or grading rubrics. Therefore, instructors often have difficulty assessing student performance on these problems13. While dedicated instructors will attempt to modify normal problems or tailor real-world issues into design problems, difficulties arise as well-defined problems are broadened yet still remain circumscribed14. In addition, there are natural limitations to the instructor’s time and experience that can hinder problem creation.

Tebbe, P., & Ross, S., & Kvamme, S., & Weninger, B., & Boardman, J. (2007, June), Promoting Student Engagement In Thermodynamics With Engineering Scenarios Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2441

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: © 2007 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