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Team-Based Learning and Screencasts in the Undergraduate Thermal-Fluid Sciences Curriculum

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Thermal Sciences

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1158.1 - 23.1158.21

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Paper Authors


Georg Pingen Union University

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Georg Pingen is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department at Union University in Jackson, TN. He teaches courses across the Mechanical Engineering curriculum with a focus on thermal-fluid-sciences. His research interests are in the areas of computational fluid dynamics, topology optimization, and engineering education. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in aerospace engineering sciences.

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Team-Based Learning and Screencasts in the Undergraduate Thermal-Fluid Sciences CurriculumIn order to achieve breadth and depth of coverage while keeping students actively engaged in theclassroom, a Team-Based Learning (Ref 1) approach supplemented by Screencasts (Ref 2) hasbeen utilized to redesign the two semester thermal-fluid-sciences course sequence in ourdepartment. In response to the revised course format, student participation and student discussionof course material has increased significantly. An excitement and increase in curiosity on thestudents’ part is present in the classroom, which was not observed in previous offerings of thesame course sequence. Students’ have taken increased ownership of the learning process, comeprepared for class, and are able to apply higher level analysis skills to complex team-applicationproblems.Following the team-based learning (TBL) approach, students are assigned to learning teamsduring the first day of classes and remain in those teams throughout the semester. Each coursehas been divided into modules taught using TBL. While the traditional TBL approach consists ofPre-Class Preparation (no in-class time), Readiness Assurance (1-2 class periods), and Team-Application of Course Concepts (1-4 class periods), the approach was adjusted to providestudents with more guidance during the Preparation phase (3-4 class periods). Here the objectivewas to shift basic textbook material, which was previously covered in in-class lectures, outside ofthe class-room, in the spirit of the flipped-classroom approach. During the Preparation phase ofthe TBL cycle, students read textbook material, watch brief screencasts prepared by theinstructor to highlight/explain/illustrate difficult concepts, and answer a few conceptual readingquestions for each class period. In-class time is then spent discussing the assigned reading andhaving students actively involved in problem solving. The main homework assignment for themodule is due at the end of the Preparation phase. Following the Preparation phase, students aregiven a multiple choice Readiness Assurance Test (RAT) focused on conceptual questions andvery brief problems to ensure a foundational understanding of the course material. The RAT iscompleted first individually (IRAT) and then by each team (TRAT) utilizing “IF AT” forms forimmediate feedback. Using this approach, the author has been positively surprised by the successof team-learning and the active student led discussion during the TRAT phase. Finally, duringthe Application phase, student teams are given complex problems that model real-worldapplications of the course material. These application problems include assignments such as: i)design a gasoline engine including a combustion process analysis, ii) analyze the performance ofa combined-cycle power plant (followed by a site visit), iii) design and construct an aerodynamicbike helmet, etc., all of which exceed the complexity of problems covered in previous courses.The effectiveness of this TBL based approach will be assessed through student test performanceand student surveys and the author will present those results in the full length paper at the ASEEconference. Details of the developed TBL modules and application problems will also beprovided.References: 1. Michaelsen, L. K., A. Bauman Knight, L. D. Fink. Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Stylus Publishing, 2004. 2. De Grazia, J. L., J. L. Falconer, G. Nicodemus, and W. Medlin. Incorporating Screencasts into Chemical Engineering Courses. Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Congress.

Pingen, G. (2013, June), Team-Based Learning and Screencasts in the Undergraduate Thermal-Fluid Sciences Curriculum Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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