(88g) Discovery, Development and Design; a 3D Approach to Teaching Transport Phenomena

Authors: 
Sacco, Jr., A., Northeastern University
Podlaha, E. J., Northeastern University
Carrier, R. L., Northeastern University
Erkut, S., Wellesley College
Grossman, J., Wellesley College
McKamey, C. L., Wellesley College
Marealle, F., Northeastern University


Numerous studies in the educational literature indicate that pedagogical methods featuring student interaction are more effective than strict lecture-style teaching [1]. Clearly, students more actively engaged in the learning process through group work, problem solving, and open-ended questions, are better prepared for how they will be expected to perform in their professional engineering careers. Prince and Felder [2] noted in 2006 that most traditional engineering education is deductive, where students are taught fundamentals and theories associated with a specific topic, and then progress to applying those learned skills to problem solving. An alternative to this traditional approach is inductive instruction, a term that encompasses a wide variety of possibilities, including inquiry learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, case-based teaching, discovery learning, and just-in-time-teaching. Northeastern University is combining both deductive and inductive educational approaches to develop an experiential, open-ended, problem-based curriculum which requires hands-on experimentation to understand and develop key chemical engineering principles and concepts. The intent is to integrate all laboratory experiments as part of an associated class with each core chemical engineering topic, rather than having laboratory experiments reside in a single course in the junior year. Towards this end, the Transport/Separations curriculum sequence has been redesigned to utilize laboratory and demonstration modules with an experiential strategy that introduces different modes of learning through discovery, development and design; (3D approach). Externally evaluated assessment tools compare the attitudes and knowledge of students in the standard curriculum (the control group) and students in the modified curriculum (the experimental group). Through the 3D experiential approach, students explore the natural engineering world and discover the underlying concepts (discovery). They are engaged through improving and innovating an experiment (development), and then use their newly acquired knowledge to design an experiment or unit operation (design). Newly created discovery, development and design experiments for fluid flow will be shared along with preliminary assessment results of student learning and attitudes.

1. Felder, R. M. & Brent, R. "Learning by Doing". Chemical Engineering Education 37, 282-283 (2003); Felder, R. M. & Brent, R. "Understanding Student Differences". Journal of Engineering Education 94, 57-72 (2005); Felder, R. M. & Silverman, L. K. "Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education." Engineering Education 78, 674-681 (1988)

2. Prince, M. J. & Felder, R. M. "Inductive Teaching and Learning Methods: Definitions, Comparisons, and Research Bases". Journal of Engineering Education 95, 123-138 (2006).