Asee peer logo

Student performance in an online chemical engineering thermodynamics course on a summer schedule

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Chemical Engineering in the Sophomore Year

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


David L. Silverstein P.E. University of Kentucky

visit author page

David L. Silverstein is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is also the Director of the College of Engineering's Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky, where he has taught since 1999. His PhD and MS studies in ChE were completed at Vanderbilt University, and his BSChE at the University of Alabama. Silverstein's research interests include conceptual learning tools and training, and he has particular interests in faculty development. He is the recipient of several ASEE awards, including the Fahein award for young faculty teaching and educational scholarship, the Corcoran award for best article in the journal Chemical Engineering Education (twice), and the Martin award for best paper in the ChE Division at the ASEE Annual Meeting.

visit author page


Sarah A Wilson University of Kentucky

visit author page

Sarah Wilson is a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Rowan University in New Jersey before attending graduate school for her PhD at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. Sarah conducted her thesis research on the production of the anti-cancer compound Paclitaxel (Taxol) through the use of plant cell cultures from the Taxus Yew Tree. Throughout her time at Rowan and UMass, she developed a passion for undergraduate education. This passion led her to pursue a career as a lecturer, where she could focus on training undergraduate chemical engineering students. She has been teaching at UK since 2015 and has taught Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Computational Tools and the Unit Operations Laboratory. She is especially interested in teaching scientific communication and integration of process safety into the chemical engineering curriculum.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The authors have individually taught a course in chemical engineering thermodynamics at the University of Kentucky for many years, but starting in 2017 brought the course into an entirely online format for the summer term. The course coverage includes 1st and 2nd law (building off a pre-requisite material and energy balances course), equations of state, phase equilibrium, mixtures, and ideal/non-ideal VLE. Through three summer offerings, the authors have compared student performance as measured through a common final exam and entering class average GPA at time of enrollment with that of students taking the traditional offering. Performance in both the traditional face-to-face spring term offering (over 16 weeks) and the summer offerings (over 6 or 8 weeks) with small sample sizes (n<20 for each section) were compared without finding apparently significant differences. Details on course structure and other lessons learned regarding teaching foundational courses like this one online are offered.

Silverstein, D. L., & Wilson, S. A. (2020, June), Student performance in an online chemical engineering thermodynamics course on a summer schedule Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35232

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: © 2020 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