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Thermodynamics online: A multi-method exploration of student perception

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100932.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100932)
Authors:   Turhan K. Carroll, Tara G. Wilson, Ashley N. Venturini, Jacqueline Wilder, Ann D Christy
Keywords:   Concept Inventory. Distance asynchronous and synchronous education. Emergency eLearning during COVID pandemic. Virtual engineering education.

Abstract. Public health restrictions on in-person gatherings due to the global COVID-19 pandemic have shifted many courses to an online platform that were previously not considered appropriate candidates for distance education. This paper focuses on the shift of a third-year biological and agricultural engineering thermodynamics course that in the past was taught in-person with two lectures and one lab/recitation session per week. In response to the pandemic, the course was delivered via two asynchronous lectures and one required synchronous lab/recitation each week. Both pre- and post-COVID courses consisted of online homework, weekly worksheet assignments, four total exams, and a semester-long humanitarian engineering team project. Student perceptions were evaluated using end-of-semester course evaluation comments and a Likert-style survey based on the Survey of Attitudes Towards Statistics that was modified by replacing “statistics” with “thermodynamics” in the survey‘s questions. The results from these different methods were triangulated in order to better understand the effect of transitioning this thermodynamics course to a wholly online delivery mode and to inform future curricular innovations with the goal of enhancing student success.

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