(278c) Enthalpy, Entropy, Confused Students & Overworked Faculty-What We’Ve Learned about Students’ Misconceptions in Thermal Sciences & Faculty Adoption of Effective Practices

Vigeant, M. A. S., Bucknell University
Prince, M. J., Bucknell University
Nottis, K., Bucknell University
Koretsky, M. D., Oregon State University
Our intuitive beliefs about how the universe works are not always borne out by science, and these beliefs can be quite resistant to change. A lifetime of experience that concrete floors are “colder” than carpet is not easily overridden by a lecture on thermal conductivity. In this talk, I’ll discuss how we worked the challenge of students’ misconceptions in thermodynamics and heat transfer. We started by working on measures to assess change in students’ conceptual understanding, then created and studied inquiry-based activities to repair students’ misconceptions, re-imagined those activities in easier-to-use formats, and studied the adoption of those activities by faculty. Our current focus is on faculty adoption, because the best educational activities in the world are destined for low impact if faculty don’t use them. I’ll conclude with our heuristics for what makes an educational innovation potentially ‘catchy’ for faculty.