ChE Seminar Series: Do we need to understand this, or can we just do it? Helping Undergrads get Engineering Co


9:35 am-10:30 am
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Margot Vigeant, Ph.D.
Rooke Professor of Chemical Engineering
Bucknell University

Title: “Do we need to understand this, or can we just do it? Helping Undergrads get Engineering Concepts”

Abstract: Students enter our classrooms with a variety of ideas about how the world works, not all of which are accurate. Even for concepts such as the second law of thermodynamics, where one might expect that students have no preconceived notions, we find that many undergraduate students begin their courses with strong alternate conceptions – 100% efficiency is possible if we just try harder! Unfortunately, a semester of lecture-based instruction may alter students’ conceptual understanding relatively little, even if the students demonstrate the ability to successfully manipulate the relevant equations. In this talk, I’ll discuss the evidence for student learning in a variety of different environments and how our work demonstrates inquiry-based activities can be a useful approach for improving conceptual learning. By using these approaches, we can double the learning gains seen in lecture-only courses. I’ll also discuss our work to make these activities more remote-learning and faculty-friendly and the impact those changes have on student learning.

Biography: Margot Vigeant is Rooke Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University. She teaches chemical engineering thermodynamics, applied food science and engineering, and capstone design. Margot’s broad research area is effective pedagogy in engineering, including approaches to conceptual learning and inquiry- based activities for thermodynamics and heat transfer. She is also interested in “making” in engineering and using technology to broaden engagement and access. Margot completed her doctorate at the University of Virginia. She is an ASEE Fellow, Apple Distinguished Educator, and chair of the 2022 ASEE Chemical Engineering Summer School.


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Department of Chemical Engineering