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Thermo Cd: An Electronic Text For The Introduction To Thermodynamics Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Learning Enhancements for CHE Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1195.1 - 8.1195.9



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Paper Authors

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William Baratuci

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Angela Linse

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

Session 3213

Thermo-CD - An Electronic Text For The Introduction To Thermodynamics Course

William B. Baratuci, Angela R. Linse University of Washington Department of Chemical Engineering / Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT)


The benefits of active learning have been well documented 1. Students are more effective problem-solvers in the classroom when they have had first-exposure to the material prior to the class meeting 2,3. Many engineering faculty encourage students to take advantage of this by assigning pre-class reading assignments. However, many students do not complete the reading assignments prior to class. This may be because they do not see the advantage of reading about the same material covered in class. Others do not see a connection between the reading assignment and in-class material and opt out of the reading assignments. Still other students complete the reading assignments, but have not read the material effectively and thus do not learn it at a level that enhances in-class problem-solving. In this paper, we describe our strategy for addressing the challenge of students’ pre-class preparation and ensuring that their preparation is effective using an interactive, multimedia textbook replacement called Thermo-CD.

We first discuss the importance of first-exposure prior to class when active learning techniques are used in the classroom. We then describe Thermo-CD and its development in some detail. Next, we discuss the course mechanics for the Spring Quarter 2003 offering of the course. Last, we describe our strategy for assessing the impact of Thermo-CD on students’ preparation and learning.

First-Exposure and Active Learning

Walvoord and Anderson state that first-exposure occurs “when the student first encounters new information, concepts, vocabulary, and procedures” 2. Few students move much beyond the first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy 8 in their first-exposure to engineering course content. In order for students to spend more class time developing and practicing higher-order thinking skills such as application, analysis and synthesis, students must have their first-exposure to content prior to the class meeting. Foertsch, et al. 3 state, “Before students can be effective team members or problem-solvers, they need to have a basic understanding of the problem domain…”

In many engineering courses, the instructor assigns readings from the course textbook on a weekly or daily basis, but few track whether or when students complete the assignments or learn the material. When instructors do not have a sense of students’ understanding, they risk unnecessarily repeating material in class that students have already mastered. This may lead the students to conclude that they might as well save valuable time by not reading at all. Both

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Baratuci, W., & Linse, A. (2003, June), Thermo Cd: An Electronic Text For The Introduction To Thermodynamics Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11850

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