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Using Student Generated Senior Design Project Ideas to Achieve ABET Student Outcomes in a Chemical Engineering Process Design and Economics Course

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Work-in-Progress Oral Session

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Jason R. White University of California, Davis

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Dr. Jason R. White is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Dr. White has been at UC Davis since 2015 and is an instructor of three senior-level design courses: Plant Design and Economics, Unit Operations and Separations, and Plant Design Project.

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Ahmet Palazoglu University of California, Davis

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Offering modern and engaging senior design projects is a challenging and time consuming task for chemical plant design instructors. Further, an offering of a chemical plant design project course may not include projects that align with student interests within the cohort. At the University of California Davis, a course in Process Design and Economics is a required senior-level course prior to the Plant Design Project course. In addition to the challenge of offering modern and engaging design projects, assessing students’ ability to achieve the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) student outcomes in these design courses using standard quiz and exam-type assessments can be difficult. In an effort to improve the assessment of ABET student outcomes in the Process Design and Economics course, as well as to offer modern and engaging senior design projects, students were tasked with proposing their own senior design project idea in the Process Design and Economics course for potential use in the Plant Design Project course. This design project proposal assignment required students to describe a potential design project idea and assess its potential merits using input/output (I/O) economics, safety, and societal assessments. The best proposals were considered for implementation as senior design projects in the Plant Design Project course.

After the completion of the assignment, students were voluntarily surveyed to gauge their perception of the effectiveness of the assignment as a measurement of their ability to develop a preliminary design idea. They were also surveyed to measure their perception of how strongly the ABET outcomes for the course mapped to this assignment. Student performance on the assignment was assessed on the basis of the students ability to 1) communicate in writing effectively, 2) design a preliminary process to meet a societal need within realistic constraints, 3) understand ethical responsibilities and potential safety issues, 4) understand the impact of the proposed design project in a global, environmental, and societal context, 5) gain a knowledge of contemporary issues, as well as 6) gain an ability to engage in life-long learning by immersing themselves in the literature. The survey results indicated that a majority of the students felt they achieved the ABET outcomes targeted by this assessment and gained an appreciation for how a plant design project idea is developed. Further, specific outcomes of this assessment appear to be especially beneficial to both female and under-represented minority (URM) students. Three new senior design projects have been adopted for the Plant Design Project course, initiated by the student ideas proposed though this assignment.

White, J. R., & Palazoglu, A. (2017, June), Using Student Generated Senior Design Project Ideas to Achieve ABET Student Outcomes in a Chemical Engineering Process Design and Economics Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29089

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