Event Title

T2-D: Using Design Challenges to Envision General Chemistry Lab for Engineers

Location

Richard Petty

Start Date

5-3-2018 1:45 PM

Description

We have developed a unique approach to the laboratory curriculum for undergraduate general chemistry for engineers that is intended to promote the persistence of engineering majors. ChaNgE Chem Lab is a series of Design Challenges that are based upon the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering. These problem-based laboratory activities involve chemistry concepts and skills in an authentic engineering context with procedures that parallel the engineering design process. For engineering majors, contextualizing the learning of chemistry in such a way is theorized to strengthen the connection between the domain knowledge of chemistry and its application in everyday work, which enhances interest, efficacy and learning. The development and evaluation of this curriculum revolves around the intended users’ perspectives, interests and needs. The usability of each Design Challenge for the intended users is tested at every stage of development and the outcomes become the basis for the iterative process of re-design and evaluation. The user-centered design process enables us to keep our focus on the involvement of our target audience in all stages of development. Usability testing allows us to compare both qualitative and quantitative data across all design iterations. This paper describes the design framework that supports the Design Challenges and the use of usability testing for evaluating the extent to which our design has reached our goals. The outcomes from the first two Design Challenges from a first-semester course are presented. Implications regarding usability, student interest, learning, self-efficacy and perception of engineering are discussed in relation to continued iterative refinement as well as more general curriculum structures that are likely to support the retention of undergraduate engineers.

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Mar 5th, 1:45 PM

T2-D: Using Design Challenges to Envision General Chemistry Lab for Engineers

Richard Petty

We have developed a unique approach to the laboratory curriculum for undergraduate general chemistry for engineers that is intended to promote the persistence of engineering majors. ChaNgE Chem Lab is a series of Design Challenges that are based upon the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering. These problem-based laboratory activities involve chemistry concepts and skills in an authentic engineering context with procedures that parallel the engineering design process. For engineering majors, contextualizing the learning of chemistry in such a way is theorized to strengthen the connection between the domain knowledge of chemistry and its application in everyday work, which enhances interest, efficacy and learning. The development and evaluation of this curriculum revolves around the intended users’ perspectives, interests and needs. The usability of each Design Challenge for the intended users is tested at every stage of development and the outcomes become the basis for the iterative process of re-design and evaluation. The user-centered design process enables us to keep our focus on the involvement of our target audience in all stages of development. Usability testing allows us to compare both qualitative and quantitative data across all design iterations. This paper describes the design framework that supports the Design Challenges and the use of usability testing for evaluating the extent to which our design has reached our goals. The outcomes from the first two Design Challenges from a first-semester course are presented. Implications regarding usability, student interest, learning, self-efficacy and perception of engineering are discussed in relation to continued iterative refinement as well as more general curriculum structures that are likely to support the retention of undergraduate engineers.