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Work in Progress: Designing a Chemical Reaction Engineering Course to Teach Problem Solving

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Chemical Engineering Pedagogy

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38138

Download Count

10

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Paper Authors

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Eric Burkholder Stanford University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7420-4290

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Francis Ledesma

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Julie C. Fornaciari University of California, Berkeley

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Abstract

This work-in-progress paper (WIP) describes the conception and implementation of a course in Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering that has been specifically designed to teach students authentic problem-solving skills. Recent work has characterized how experts solve authentic engineering problems in terms of the decisions that the expert makes during the problem-solving process. From this framework and research on deliberate practice, we hypothesized that students can learn authentic engineering problem-solving if they are given the opportunity to practice making these expert decisions with timely feedback from their instructors. This framework of expert decision-making and deliberate practice informed the re-design of a chemical kinetics and reaction engineering course at a highly selective public research university. We chose this course because our previous research had shown that students were not learning any authentic problem-solving between the cornerstone and capstone design courses in chemical engineering; we thus sought to transform a core chemical engineering course to better teach these authentic problem-solving skills. In this WIP paper we provide a detailed description of the course design and implementation. We also provide preliminary measurements of students’ authentic problem-solving skills before and after the course to determine how effective this particular design is for teaching authentic problem-solving. These preliminary findings can provide guidance to other chemical engineering instructors as to best practices for instructional design toward the goal of teaching authentic engineering problem-solving.

Burkholder, E., & Ledesma, F., & Fornaciari, J. C. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Designing a Chemical Reaction Engineering Course to Teach Problem Solving Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38138

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