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Using Video Media to Enhance Conceptual Learning in an Undergraduate Thermodynamics Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1446.1 - 25.1446.8



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Paper Authors

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James P. Abulencia Manhattan College


Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot Vigeant is Associate Professor of chemical engineering and Associate Dean of engineering at Bucknell University. She is interested in improving students' conceptual understanding in engineering thermodynamics.

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David L. Silverstein University of Kentucky

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David L. Silverstein is the PJC Engineering Professor of chemical engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is assigned to the College of Engineering's Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Ky., where he has taught for 12 years. His Ph.D. and M.S. studies in Ch.E. were completed at Vanderbilt University, and his B.S.Ch.E. at the University of Alabama. Silverstein's research interests include conceptual learning tools and training, and he has particular interests in faculty development. He is the recipient of several ASEE awards, including the Fahein Award for young faculty teaching and educational scholarship, the Cororan award for best article in the journal Chemical Engineering Education (twice), and the Martin award for best paper in the Ch.E. Division at the ASEE Annual Meeting.

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Using Video Media to Enhance Conceptual Learning in an Undergraduate Thermodynamics Course This project addresses the need for changing undergraduate chemical engineeringeducation to take advantage of skills possessed by a media savvy generation of students. Astudent's conceptual understanding is often decoupled from their problem solving ability. Inother words, mathematical solutions are often attained in the absence of fully understanding thephysical system and/or meaning of the result. Introductory thermodynamics is an undergraduatechemical engineering course wherein confusion in fundamental concepts may create a significantbarrier in effectively solving problems. Some of these concepts are abstract, causing manystudents to not easily relate to them. A collaborative team from Manhattan College, Bucknell University, and the Universityof Kentucky Paducah will enhance conceptual learning through a new and innovative approach.We will have students: 1) develop an instructional video that teaches a concept inthermodynamics using common metaphors, and 2) watch a similarly constructed instructionalvideo developed by peers at a separate institution. The former employs autodidactic learning,while the latter takes advantage of peer-to-peer learning. To measure the effects of thesetreatments on conceptual learning, our project will execute: 1) a baseline assessment using athermodynamics concept inventory, and 2) a post-treatment assessment using a similarinstrument. Additionally, student affective domain responses will be measured with aquestionnaire using standard Likert ratings. This project has broad implications for increasing conceptual understanding inthermodynamics for both undergraduate engineering students and the general public.Thermodynamics is a core course in other engineering disciplines (e.g., mechanical engineering).Thus, the videos generated from this project are designed to impact a wide range of engineeringstudents. Moreover, the use of publically accessible cloud-based service to host the videos willguarantee broad and rapid availability to institutions of higher education and the general public.As the collection of videos grows, students from diverse backgrounds and capabilities will findone that addresses their individual needs and learning style. Finally, faculty embracing thisproject will have an opportunity to have their students view the videos to supplement lectures, aswell as contribute to the collection. With respect to the general public, non-engineers curiousabout thermodynamic principles will have an opportunity to gain insight on a particular concept,because the instructional videos will use ordinary examples. Work on this project is supported from an NSF DUE Grant (Awards #1043627,#1043697, and #1043613), and will begin during the academic year 2011-2012 .

Abulencia, J. P., & Vigeant, M. A., & Silverstein, D. L. (2012, June), Using Video Media to Enhance Conceptual Learning in an Undergraduate Thermodynamics Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22203

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