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Why is thermodynamics so hard for students and what can an instructor do about it.

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Conference

2022 ASEE Gulf Southwest Annual Conference

Location

Prairie View, Texas

Publication Date

March 16, 2022

Start Date

March 16, 2022

End Date

March 18, 2022

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--39223

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/39223

Download Count

3719

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Paper Authors

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Randall D. Manteufel The University of Texas at San Antonio

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Dr. Randall Manteufel is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He has won several teaching awards, including the 2012 University of Texas System Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2013 UTSA President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence, the 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2019 College of Engineering Student Council Professor of the Year Award, 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award for College of Engineering, and 2004-2005 Mechanical Engineering Instructor of the year award, 1999 ASEE-GSW Outstanding New Faculty Award. Dr. Manteufel is a Fellow of ASME with teaching and research interests in the thermal sciences. In 2015-2016, he chaired the American Society for Engineering Education Gulf Southwest section and in 2018-2019 he chaired the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars at UTSA. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas.

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biography

Amir Karimi P.E. The University of Texas at San Antonio

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Amir Karimi, University of Texas, San Antonio
Amir Karimi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1982. His teaching and research interests are in thermal sciences. He has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering (1987 to 1992 and September 1998 to January of 2003), College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (Jan. 2003-April 2006), and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies (April 2006-September 2013). Dr. Karimi is a Fellow of ASEE, a Fellow of ASME, senior member of AIAA, and holds membership in ASHRAE, and Sigma Xi. He has served as the ASEE Campus Representative at UTSA, ASEE-GSW Section Campus Representative, and served as the Chair of ASEE Zone III (2005-07). He chaired the ASEE-GSW section during the 1996-97 academic year.

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Abstract

The introductory engineering thermodynamics class often has a reputation for being difficult for students. The authors reflect on why it has such a reputation and how faculty can improve the course. This paper looks at three areas: student issues, instructor issues, and content issues. The challenges are broad and there is no simplistic summary of all of the challenges. It is easy to overlook fundamental issues, which will probably persist and be beyond the instructor’s scope. One way to address all issues and change student perception is obvious: simplify the course. If one removes topics which students find difficult, the course will be become easier. Other than instructional restructuring and content reduction, the paper concludes wider systemic issues should be addressed to improve student satisfaction with the course.

Manteufel, R. D., & Karimi, A. (2022, March), Why is thermodynamics so hard for students and what can an instructor do about it. Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Gulf Southwest Annual Conference, Prairie View, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--39223

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