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Teaching Strategies For Undergraduate Heat Transfer Courses

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1096.1 - 7.1096.11

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Paper Authors

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Washington Braga

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

Main Menu Session 1566


Washington Braga ME Department, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro- PUC-Rio, Brazil

Abstract: Enhancing engineering education has been related to the improvement of students interaction. However, time constraints and an always increasing syllabus are on opposite sides, making things difficult for faculty members willing to implement constructivism concepts. These concepts may require more time and less material to allow building up knowledge during a term. The solution may be the Internet, provided that strong interaction is obtained among students, teachers and whatever software used. A mixed environment combining virtual and on-site classes has been developed and used for sometime now. Students acceptance is generally quite good and often their academic achievements have increased significantly, mainly after an email conference system and more interactive web pages have become available. This paper presents some of the strategies and resources combining active and reflective techniques already implemented to enhance students learning.

1. Introduction

To my knowledge, one of the most important advances regarding modern engineering education has been the development of what is generically called web based education, either as a fundamental tool for distance learning or as an enhancing one for face-to-face classes (on-site). However, to me, the real achievement is not the countless plethora of fascinating technological resources. Instead, it is the fact that the Internet is a powerful engine pushing so many clever and interesting discussions on what learning and teaching are for the present day students. More than the resource itself, I feel that truly important is its very existence, as a non-neutral technology, changing everything, beginning with the students minds, just by being there. Therefore, it is not much to say that the development and implementation of an academic environment suitable to a new audience is one of the top priorities among those interested in promoting changes in Engineering Education.

This paper presents some reflections on teaching strategies to promote active teaching that may result in effective learning. Most of them have been used for some time now in an undergraduate Heat Transfer course at the Mechanical Engineering Department of PUC, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is essentially an analysis course, that is supposed to give fundamental information on Heat Transfer. A following course called Thermal Systems Projects is oriented towards technical and industrial problems. The learning environment to be considered herein is an extended classroom, combining synchronous (face-to-face meetings) and asynchronous (using Internet email conferencing systems) learning discussions, centered on active students participation in a collaborative environment. Under no circumstances, a "best" strategy will be presented as experience indicates that the most effective one depends strongly upon the profile of the students undertaking the course, the instructor's profile and teaching philosophy and the course subject. Therefore, the goal of this essay is to present several successful techniques, hoping that some of them may be useful to others facing similar needs. Despite all the technical

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education Main Menu

Braga, W. (2002, June), Teaching Strategies For Undergraduate Heat Transfer Courses Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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