Published in 120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings: Atlanta, GA, June 23, 2013.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Steffen Peuker was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Many mechanical engineering departments offer a thermal system design (or similar) course for senior students. Some courses have a laboratory component, but many are a lecture only format. This paper demonstrates how active learning—through virtual labs, a semester long project, and in-class assignments—was incorporated into the lecture portion of a thermal system design course to enhance learning and provide the students a laboratory experience without a physical laboratory. These active learning ideas can also supplement the learning during lecture for those courses which have a designated laboratory time. Anecdotal evidence of the activities indicates that students were engaged and enjoyed the active learning activities. Student reflections show that students not only achieved individual learning outcomes—such as analyze thermal system components, design and optimize thermal systems, etc.—but they synthesized them into their project and performed an evaluation, demonstrating they achieved the highest domain in terms of cognitive learning.