(48a) Teaching Fugacity through Comics and Assessing the Impact on Student Confidence and Understanding | AIChE

(48a) Teaching Fugacity through Comics and Assessing the Impact on Student Confidence and Understanding


Landherr, L. - Presenter, Northeastern University
Hung, F., Northeastern University
Carrier, R. L., Northeastern University
Comics have been used as learning tools in engineering education for several years with positive feedback from students and educators. The comics have been developed by integrating written lectures and instruction with visual depictions to provide new curricula to help students better grasp more abstract and complex topics, effectively providing students with ‘visual notes’ that allow them to revisit the lectures where the concepts were originally taught and helping them to form deeper connections with the subject matter. In a number of general studies, integrating the comics into instruction or simply providing them as additional tools have been determined to increase the students' interest, confidence, and understanding of the concepts addressed.

One particular 10-page comic, developed in collaboration with a professional artist, focused on the subject of fugacity. This comic has since been used by a number of educational institutions, as well as international federal agencies and even as supporting evidence in a legal case to help explain the concept to a jury. It has clearly been received well given its broad adoption; however, the impact of the comic has never been truly assessed in a formal educational setting. In order to evaluate the comic, students in two thermodynamics sections were provided the comic at the end of their fugacity instruction. Students were provided a series of ConcepTest questions focused on important features of fugacity in gases, liquids, and mixtures, in order to best measure their understanding. Following each question, students were asked to assess their confidence in the answer they provided. Students then read through the comic, before answering the ConcepTest questions again and providing another assessment of their confidence. Differences in their answers and self-assessment were then evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the comic.

This paper discusses the evaluation of the comic with recommendations on the best means to integrate a comic learning tool into thermodynamics courses for greatest positive impact.