June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Energy Conversion and Conservation
24.1081.1 - 24.1081.11
Significant Learning in a Renewable Energy Course Traditionally, engineering education has focused on lower levels of learning, such as foundational knowledge and application. It is vital that students understand and have the ability to use the physical laws governing our world to analyze engineering systems. More recently, higher levels of learning, such as synthesis and evaluation, have received increasing attention in engineering education. This paper describes: (a) the learning goals, (b) the teaching and learning activities and (c) feedback and assessment from a senior-‐level mechanical engineering course on solar thermal energy and energy storage. Topics of the course included the solar resource, solar collectors, solar thermal power, thermal energy storage, phase change materials, compressed air storage and flywheels. Fink’s “significant learning” approach was used to integrate multiple levels of learning into the activities of the course. Each unit began with readings from texts or journals on the topics. Next, a lecture was used to connect the reading to fundamental concepts, such as the laws of thermodynamics or heat transfer fundamentals. Lectures, examples and class discussions deepened the foundational knowledge and application learning. Near the end of each unit, students proposed and completed a design project. These open-‐ended, real-‐world exercises integrated many levels of learning. For example, after the team design reports were submitted, the peer-‐review process began. Each team reviewed and evaluated the designs of the other teams; ranking the designs based on a common set of criteria (identified by the students). They also identified strengths and weaknesses of each report and offered areas for improvement. Students also completed a research presentation, where they investigated state-‐of-‐the-‐art issues related to the topics of the course and presented them to the class. Several means of assessment were used to draw conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the teaching and learning activities for meeting the learning goals of the course. A summative assessment tool was used at the end of the course to measure how well the course learning objectives were met. Reflective learning portfolios were used as formative, self-‐assessment. These portfolios provided the students with the opportunities to document their achievement with respect to the learning goals of the course. The reflective portion of the portfolio required them to consider what they learned, the importance of what they learned and to identify how they learned in the course.
Marbach, T. L. (2014, June), Significant Learning in Renewable Energy Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23014
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: © 2014 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