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Using an Article in a Sophomore Engineering Science Class to Boost Life-long Learning Confidence

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Communication in the Chemical Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1655.1 - 26.1655.14



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Paper Authors


Laura P. Ford University of Tulsa

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LAURA P. FORD is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Tulsa. She teaches engineering science thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, mass transfer, and chemical engineering senior labs. She is a co-advisor for TU’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA and has recently advised students on TU’s Hydrate Flow Assurance joint industry project. Her email address is

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Using an Article in a Sophomore Engineering Science Class to Boost Life-long Learning ConfidenceSophomore-level engineering classes often do not require students to find properties or processesin the literature, as advanced engineering courses do. Using the literature to find information isoften considered part of fulfilling ABET outcome i: a recognition of the need for, and an abilityto engage in, life-long learning. The design project in a sophomore-level course was based on anarticle in Chemical Engineering Progress, and students will be surveyed about confidence inability to understand similar articles before, during, and after completing the design project.Optimizing an Organic Rankine Cycle by Bourji and Winstead (CEP, January 2013, 35-39)covers a basic Rankine cycle and a Rankine cycle with a form of regeneration, which are bothcovered in introductory thermodynamics courses. Students who understand the course materialshould understand the thermodynamics of the paper. The participants will read the article andanswer a questionnaire three times during the semester: before Rankine cycles have beencovered in class, just after the homework assignment on Rankine cycles with regeneration is due,and just after the project based on the article is due. The questionnaire asks about understandingthe article, ability to follow the thermodynamic modifications of the article, and ability toreproduce the thermodynamic calculations of the article. All three of these are expected toimprove as the students learn the material in the course and work with it through homework andthe design project. Confidences in ability to understand engineering principles and to reproducecalculations of similar articles are also expected to improve during the study and are probed withseparate questions. This study hopes to show that life-long learning can be encouraged in lower-level courses with the appropriate selection of articles.

Ford, L. P. (2015, June), Using an Article in a Sophomore Engineering Science Class to Boost Life-long Learning Confidence Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24991

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