June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.1280.1 - 23.1280.18
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. 10.18260/1-2--22665
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