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Student Evaluation Of The Thermal/Fluids Design Experience

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.901.1 - 6.901.10



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Paul Hoke

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Craig Somerton

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

Session 1566

Student Evaluation of the Thermal/Fluids Design Experience

Paul B. Hoke, Craig W. Somerton Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University


The paper details on-going course development and improvement in a senior level heat transfer laboratory incorporating a design experience. The heat transfer laboratory includes eight (8) laboratory exercises and concludes with a seven week thermal design project. The project is chosen to include multiple aspects of thermal design and to incorporate the tools utilized in the earlier laboratory exercises. The goal of the project is to provide the students with a thermal engineering experience in which they design, build, test and report on their work. Feedback to students is provided during weekly meetings with the instructional staff, a design competition and through grading of the written project report. Students were given anonymous pre and post- surveys to obtain their expectations and evaluations of the thermal design experience. The purpose of this exercise was not to evaluate the learning objectives specifically, but to measure the students’ perception of the project. Three factors were targeted specifically; the students’ confidence in their technical skills, group skills and leadership, and whether students found the project engaging. Those survey results are analyzed and it can be concluded that the students do gain a measurable increase in their design skills and in their ability to function as a team member.

I. Introduction

A thermal/fluids design experience is essential for a complete mechanical engineering educational experience and is also a mechanical engineering program requirement of the Engineering Criteria 2000 [ABET, 2000]. This experience should include design, build, test, report and feedback aspects for maximum educational benefit [Kolb, 1984]. A program to meet these requirements has been successfully implemented at Michigan State University as a portion of the senior level heat transfer laboratory course. Details of the thermal design projects were presented by Somerton et al. [1999]. This work continues the development of the thermal design experience by obtaining and analyzing the students’ evaluation of the projects.

To fulfill the intent of the Engineering Criteria 2000, students must be provided opportunities in which they can successfully complete thermal design challenges [ABET, 2000]. The students must also feel that the experience is sufficiently challenging in order to develop confidence in their skills and knowledge base. This is a delicate balance to maintain. Successful project

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Hoke, P., & Somerton, C. (2001, June), Student Evaluation Of The Thermal/Fluids Design Experience Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9807

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