Students from Tennessee Tech University’s chemical engineering department recently demonstrated that the best evaluators of engineering education in the future could be students themselves.
A student group won awards at the American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE, Southeast Section Conference for developing desktop modules demonstrating a thermodynamics concept. The group won in the Junior/Senior Engineering and Engineering Technology Design Teams category as well as the Overall Best Poster category.
Chemical engineering professor Don Visco received a university quality enhancement program grant last year so that students in his Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes ChE3010 class could design, budget, build and test the modules.
“At the end of the semester, eight teams with different modules presented their work for assessment to their classmates, to a few selected faculty and a small group of senior students who had already taken my class,” said Visco.
“The senior group had a special assignment: they were to evaluate the modules from a student standpoint on which would have helped them understand the concept best during the previous year when they were in ChE 3010.”
The group selected—Emory Hannah, Lauren Word, Chad Kimsey and Phillip Schmitt— presented their design at the ASEE Southeast Section Conference held at Virginia Tech this spring.
“The project required us to delve into the physical relevance of thermodynamic concepts and explore thermodynamics beyond classroom lecture,” said Word. “Our team, and the class as a whole, was able to greatly expand our understanding of concepts that, at first, seemed abstract and difficult to relate to our personal experiences.”