Asee peer logo

Studio-based Learning in Multiple Material/Energy Balance Classes

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Improving Introductory Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1135.1 - 24.1135.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard L. Zollars Washington State University

visit author page

Richard Zollars has been on the faculty at Washington State University for 36 years. Prior to that he served on the faculty at the University of Colorado and worked with the Union Carbide Corporation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Studio-based Learning in a Multiple Material/Energy Balance ClassesIn a studio-based learning environment, students learn not just by doing but also byproviding critiques of other student’s work as well as receiving critiques on their workfrom other students. Studio-based learning techniques have been used in variety ofdisciplines, most notably in architecture and fine arts. Engineering students often do thisin informal settings (e.g., study groups) but rarely do so in a formal classroom setting.The critiquing activity is the strength of the learning activities in studio-based learning asit requires students to be active as well as encouraging students to explain (teach) thematerial to others, thus strengthening their understanding of the concepts. The critiquingactivity also exercises higher levels of learning, as defined by Bloom’s taxonomy,requiring activity up to and including judgment.A major hurdle in adopting this approach is the lack of classroom time for such anactivity. We have overcome this limitation by developing two software packages toallow a studio based approach in an asynchronous manner. The first of these softwarepackages (ChemProV – Chemical Process Visualizer) is designed to provide a scaffoldedenvironment in which students can assemble process flow diagrams in a manner similarto that used in large process simulation packages, ASPEN, HYSYS, PRO/II, etc. WhileChemProV allows students to assemble process flow diagrams and material/energybalance equations, it does not solve the resulting equations. ChemProV is meant toprovide an environment to develop the process flow diagram and balance equations andthen to provide a uniform platform for the transfer these between students.The second software package (OSBLE – On-line Studio-Based Learning Environment)provides the asynchronous communication platform to allow for the studio basedimplementation. After submitting a material/energy balance problem (using ChemProV)other students (usually 3 – 5) can comment on the strengths and/or weaknesses of thesubmission. Once a student has provided a critique they can see the critiques provided byother students. This opens the second phase of the studio-based experience, a criticalreview discussion. Students are directed to compare the various critiques provided tolook for commonalities as well as items where only one or two have commented. Again,via an asynchronous discussion, students can add to or modify their initial critiques untilthe group has come to a consensus about the ChemProV problem solution. All of thisdiscussion is kept on-line and returned, anonymously, to the student who developed theproblem initially.This approach is being used for two years in a material/energy balance class with 110students each year. This past year the studio-based approach was also implemented inseven other institutions. Pre- and post-class evaluations of learning were conducted aswell as pre- and post-class attitudinal surveys. Results from these evaluation tools will bedescribed.

Zollars, R. L. (2014, June), Studio-based Learning in Multiple Material/Energy Balance Classes Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23068

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