Asee peer logo

Understanding the Continued Poor Performance in Thermodynamics as a First Step toward an Instructional Strategy

Download Paper |

Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Thermodynamics

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

23.1280.1 - 23.1280.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22665

Download Count

38

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Nihad Dukhan University of Detroit Mercy

visit author page

Nihad Dukhan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he teaches courses in heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and energy systems. His ongoing research interests include advanced cooling technologies for high-power devices with focus on metal foam as the cooling core, service learning and other engineering education pedagogies. Dr. Dukhan earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo.

visit author page

biography

Mark Schumack University of Detroit Mercy

visit author page

Mark Schumack is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy, where he teaches courses in heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and energy systems. His ongoing pedagogical interests include developing ways to teach energy conservation and sustainability principles. His research interests include thermal/fluid modeling using computational techniques, with applications in the automotive, manufacturing, and energy fields. Dr. Schumack earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Understanding the Continued Poor Performance in Thermodynamics as a First Step toward an Instructional StrategyThermodynamics governs traditional and alternative sources of energy in terms of availability,conversion and depletion. Stout understanding of thermodynamics by graduating engineers isindispensable for addressing the foremost global issue: the looming energy crisis and its relatedproblems of pollution and global warming. Despite this monumental importance, students continue tostruggle with thermodynamics. Student’s difficulties with thermodynamics have been reported not onlyin the US, but also in several European countries, Australia and India.The current authors contend that understanding the two problems through the published literature isan indispensable first step toward a design of an instructional strategy geared at removing barriers tostudents’ learning of thermodynamics. The purpose of this paper is to give a concise account of thepertinent literature, and to analyze this literature in order to accurately describe the nature of problemsof learning and teaching thermodynamics. The paper also describes the methods used for probing theproblems, tried techniques for solving them and the degree of success achieved. In general, theliterature points at two challenging problems. First, students do not properly learn thermodynamicconcepts and principles; second, students have difficulty recognizing relevant concepts and principles,and putting them together in order to solve thermodynamic problems. The latter problem seems to nothave received vital study and attention as the former. More details about these problems andproposed solutions are given in this paper.Thermodynamics is often taken early in engineering curricula, and unfortunately is often perceived as animpediment to continuing studies. Instructional strategies for keeping students engaged andeliminating their frustration with thermodynamics, will enhance retention in engineering.

Dukhan, N., & Schumack, M. (2013, June), Understanding the Continued Poor Performance in Thermodynamics as a First Step toward an Instructional Strategy Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22665

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: © 2013 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