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Student Designed Desktop Modules in a Thermodynamics Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

SPECIAL SESSION: Educational Methods and Tools to Encourage Conceptual Learning I

Tagged Divisions

Chemical Engineering and Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1330.1 - 22.1330.12



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Paper Authors


Donald P. Visco Jr. University of Akron

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Donald P. Visco, Jr. is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Akron. Most recently, he was a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University. His current research interests include experimental and computational thermodynamics, as well as bioinformatics/drug design. He is an active and contributing member of ASEE at the local, regional and national levels. He is the 2006 recipient of the Raymond W. Fahien Award for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship as well as the 2009 recipient of the National Outstanding Teaching Award from ASEE.

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Student Designed Desktop Modules in a Thermodynamics CourseThere has been much recent work on incorporating hands-on modules inside the chemicalengineering classroom. Arce emphasizes the use of student-designed and built modules(which he calls experimental prototypes) in fluid dynamics. Likewise, Minerick has useddesktop modules which are faculty designed but are literally small enough to fit on thedesktop. Finally, Van Wie has shown the utility of an all-in-one hands-on devicespecifically designed by faculty for use in fluid dynamics. It is the intention of the authorto try and synthesize the best features of each approach. In particular, the author wouldlike to have student-designed and built modules that fit on a desk or table-top that can beused to explore multiple concepts. As a first step in this approach, students in athermodynamics course were assigned the task to design and build a desktop module.The purpose of this step was to identify which types of designs might best lendthemselves to repeated use and/or address multiple concepts. Once built, the studentsdemonstrated their device to their classmates and were assessed by upperclassman whohad already taken the course for efficacy at concept demonstration. In a follow-on year,the next group of students were assigned the task to modify the existing DEMOs in orderto better expose the most salient thermodynamic concepts of the particular DEMO. Thispresentation provides an update on this work.

Visco, D. P. (2011, June), Student Designed Desktop Modules in a Thermodynamics Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18375

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