Special Track on Chemical Engineering Education

banner V6


Improving Students’ Understanding of Reaction Engineering Course via Flipped-Coop Learning

Raihan Mahirah Ramli

The attribute as a long-life learner has been documented as the eleventh out of twelve program outcomes outlined by Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) [1], alongside with other soft skills required for a future engineer. Development of the attribute are ideally being embedded into teaching and learning activities so that students are able to relate their acquired skills with the technical knowledge. Unfortunately, the current traditional teaching method of one-way communication with the educators being the dispenser of the facts still rules in most of chemical engineering classes. The challenges faced by the educators are to design active learning activities and facilitate students through the changes in learning experiences. It is well known that students’ preparation before coming to the class has huge impact towards their understanding and participation in class on the topic. The use of audio and video technology as a tool to prepare teaching materials for students before the class could be one of the method. The flipped classroom was first introduced by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams back in 2007 to help their students who were missing from class due to other commitments [2]. Lage et al. [3] defined flipped (or inverted) classroom as “events that have traditionally taken place inside the classroom now taken place outside the classroom and vice versa”. In the flipped classroom model, students are given the lecture materials prior to the class for them to learn at their own time and pace, and the schedule class is used to do problem solving which normally be given as homework in the traditional method. The key ingredient in the flipped approach is often the video lectures, which is created by the instructors and posted online for ease of viewing. Students are instructed to view the video prior the class. Pierce and Fox [4] implemented flipped classroom for their renal pharmacotherapy topic module and students were given case study during scheduled class for interactive discussion. Prior knowledge provided in the flipped materials helped the students to be prepared for class discussion. The end semester results showed that performance of their students improved as compared to the previous year under traditional instructional. Students’ feedback of the new implemented instructional method were positive. Cooperative learning strategies promote active participations of students and student centered learning. There are three keys of cooperative learning; (1) students working together in small team to achieve common goal, (2) responsibilities for each sub-goal are divided among the members, and (3) individual contributions are combined into one product to ensure the goal is achieved [5]. Meta-analysis conducted by Johnson and Johnson [6] to analyse the impact of cooperative learning on student achievement reported of significant higher performance compared to their peers in individual learning environment.

Implementing Authentic Learning in a Green Boiler Technology Chemical Engineering Elective Course: Experiences at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines

Alberto A. Laurito

This paper shall share with the RCEE 2016 participants the experiences of the author in the design, training of trainors, and implementation of an outcomes based course in Green Boiler Technology. The author was commissioned in 2012 as a UNIDO educational expert to design the course for delivery in five East South East Asia (ESEA) countries, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, and Cambodia. The course shall serve as a continuing training course for promoting awareness on Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) in fossil fuel fired boilers in the ESEA Region, focusing on the elimination of unintentionally produced dioxins and furans during industry boiler operations. After piloting the course in his Chemical Engineering department, several professors from the participating institutions were trained by the author for further implementation of the course. The Green Boiler Technology (GBTech) Course is currently delivered as an Energy or Environmental track specialization to graduating B.S. Chemical and Mechanical Engineering students at the University of Santo Tomas. The course is implemented to provide authentic learning by the students, as case study presentation and reports on the analysis of industrial boilers in actual operation shall serve as the final requirement. The GBTech class is divided into groups of four to six members, and each group is tasked to connect with companies with industrial boilers for the purpose of energy audit and environmental impact assessment.
The lecture modules focus on the types and operations of boilers, boiler fuels, and environmental impacts of boilers with focus on the potential release of dioxins and furans, two of the deadliest Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the existing BAT and BEP as identified in the ESEA UNIDO boiler project. The lectures are supported with computing sessions on the direct and indirect methods for determining the boiler thermal efficiency. After these sessions, the groups are deployed to their assigned boilers in order to review results of in house boiler efficiency calculations as it connects boiler fuel type and characteristics, percentage excess air supplied flue gas analysis, and the presence of waste heat recovery equipment such as economizers and air preheaters.
In the final month of the course, the students are trained to use FireCAD, a boiler design software provided by UNIDO, in order to simulate the effects of making changes in fuel type and composition, excess air, use of various designs of air preheater and economizer on improving the current operating efficiency of their case boilers. The student groups are then asked to prepare a report to their assigned companies giving recommendations on further “greening” their case boiler, as derived from the results obtained using the FireCAD software. Each group is then given 20 minutes each to share with the other groups their boiler case study before the end of the semester and all of their gained experiential learning are also summarized in a final written team report or journal.
The author shall also narrate on how the same course has been shared with faculty members from other chemical and mechanical engineering departments in Metro Manila, through the Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE) Academe Chapter for the purpose of expanding its offering to other institutions.
Finally, the author has redesigned the university based course into a one week Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course for practicing engineers and this new course has been offered to practicing engineers coming from a local glass and petroleum companies.

Using Problems in Teaching Difficult Chemical Engineering Content: An Example in Process Control

Mohd. Kamaruddin Abd. Hamid

Chemical Engineering content are well known for abstract concepts that are difficult to visualize. Teaching chemical engineering program requires lot of effort in understanding not only the fundamental of the chemical engineering such as mass and energy balances, thermodynamics, process transport etc., but also require the application of mathematics such as calculus, numerical analysis and statistics. Too often, students become lost in the concepts and calculations, that they cannot visualize the larger picture of the actual applications and context of the knowledge that they are learning.
Process control has the notorious reputation of being one of the most difficult courses in an undergraduate chemical engineering program. The course and how it is taught is a controversial subject that generate lively discussions among control academics, control practitioners, and chemical engineering faculty who do not teach process control. Curriculum trends such as the new emphasis on biological engineering, sustainability, safety are influencing how process control is taught, and clearly there is difficulty in squeezing more content into an already full course.
Content in the process control class usually required students to have good understanding of calculus and differential equations. Students find it difficult to understand the fundamental of process control since they need to derive and solve mathematical models which represent the behaviors of dynamic processes. Consequently, they fail to relate the meaning of abstract concepts and models to the real world. This paper describes efforts use realistic (and sometimes real) problems from industry to help students learn process control and dynamics at a deep level in the context of the real world applications.

1st Year Orientation Programme: Sustaining Attendance and Interest of the New Generation

Nurlidia Mansor

Orientation programs at Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) are a common event, mostly held to allow new students to familiarize themselves with the academic requirements, course offerings, and registration procedures. Apart from that, providing 1st year students with an opportunity to understand the expectations of the institution and allowing them to connect with the resources that are available allows them to swiftly settle in their new environment [1]. Over the years, orientation programs have taken a new outlook or even new names to give it a refreshing take, such as ‘Welcome Program’, ‘Kick-off Program’, ‘1st Year Bootcamp’ to name a few. The programs would sometimes be a one-day event or may even stretch to a week.
Recognizing the challenges that students may face at the start of their program, the Department of Chemical Engineering at University Teknologi PETRONAS began an orientation program in 2015 to welcome their 1st year students. The objectives of the program known as ‘1st Year Chemical Engineering Bootcamp’, are to conduct early engagement with the students, to inspire them to perform extraordinarily and to motivate them to endure their four- year undergraduate program. The organizing committee fashioned a well-rounded event which touched on academic matters, engaging activities with seniors and staff, outdoor and indoor team building with peers as well as challenging activities and competitions. Senior students were also engaged as co-organizers and assisted with the facilitation of the events.

Motivating Students Interest to Learn Using Active Learning Strategies for Separation Process II

Nurhayati Mellon

Active learning is viewed as one of the tools that helped to increase the motivation in learning through the incorporation of activities that promotes discussion and thinking among learners. As opposed to traditional lecture where information are merely transmitted from the instructor to the learner without requiring any thinking, active learning involved the elements of “involving students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing” [1]. Learners use mental pattern and existing knowledge in interpreting new knowledge, and new information that are assimilated to existing knowledge, are more easily understood, learned and retained [2-3]. This is one of the reasons why science and engineering teaching requires more than the traditional lecturing approach. To quote Volpe [4]: “Public understanding of science is appalling. The major contributor to society’s stunning ignorance of science has been our educational system. The inability of students to appreciate the scope, meaning, and limitations of science reflects our conventional lecture-oriented curriculum with its emphasis on passive learning. The student’s traditional role is that of a passive note-taker and regurgitator of factual information. What is urgently needed is an educational program in which students become interested in actively knowing, rather than passively believing.”
As the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Teach me and I forget, tell me and I remember, involve me and I learn”, it is realized that the best way to improve students motivation in learning is through the implementation of active learning instructions incorporating various activities and peer discussions that effectively promotes student learning in class [5] in class as part of the delivery method as opposed to traditional 50 minutes lecture. Traditional lecture has failed to motivate students learning [6] as activities that promotes learning i.e. actively seeking new information and constructing the information in a meaningful way [7] is lacking.

Integrated Course Design of the Introduction to Engineering Course

Aziatul Niza Sadikin

As part of the effort to enhance students’ first year experience, Chemical Engineering students in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia are required to take the Introduction to Engineering course. The course is designed to stimulate students’ passion and strengthen their motivation for further engineering studies as well as enhancing their technical knowledge and relevant professional skills. This paper describes the design and implementation of Introduction to Engineering course which aims to introduce engineering and inculcates sustainability awareness among students. To attain the course outcomes, student-centered teaching and learning approaches are implemented, starting with cooperative learning leading up to problem based learning. Real problems based on sustainability related issues are designed with input and cooperation with industries or related agencies. The ITE course was integrated with a one-credit seminar course to support the inclusion of stakeholders by inviting them to give presentations and bringing students for related site visits.