273459 The AIChE Concept Warehouse Project: Promotion of Active, Concept-Based Learning Pedagogies

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 5:08 PM
329 (Convention Center )
Debra Gilbuena1, Bill J. Brooks1, David L. Silverstein2, John L. Falconer3, Ronald L. Miller4, Marina Miletic5 and Milo D. Koretsky1, (1)Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, (2)University of Kentucky, Paducah, KY, (3)Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, (4)Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, (5)Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

The AIChE Concept Warehouse was initiated with the goal of creating a community of learning within the discipline of chemical engineering (ChE) focused on concept-based instruction. We have been developing and promoting the use of a cyber-enabled infrastructure for conceptual questions, the AIChE Concept Warehouse, which can used throughout the core ChE curriculum (Material and Energy Balances, Thermodynamics, Transport Phenomena, Kinetics and Reactor Design, and Materials Science). Conceptual questions, both as Concept Inventories and ConcepTests, are available through an interactive website maintained through the Education Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the discipline’s major professional society. The overall objective is to lower the activation barrier for using conceptual instruction and assessment so that many more chemical engineering faculty incorporate concept-based learning into their classes. 

The innovative software application allows interactive electronic use, as well as PowerPoint, Word, and pdf formats to be automatically generated so that conceptual learning and evaluation can be incorporated into instruction in various forms: in-class ConcepTests with student response (clickers, laptops, cell phones), concept inventories to evaluate student learning (or student preparation for a course), exam and homework problems. A key element to this approach is to provide a context for conceptual learning that reflects the richly interconnected and interrelated knowledge structures of experts. The pedagogy includes cross development and testing between items on a Concept Inventory and in ConcepTests.

In this paper we report on the initial development, promotion, limited deployment, and future plans for the AIChE Concept Warehouse. Activities intended to build community, including conference special sessions and workshops will be described. Data collected includes website and database statistics, pre- and post-use semi-structured interviews with beta testers as well as development documentation. Semi-structured interviews were analyzed in order to identify common likes and dislikes with the conceptual resources and user interface for the AIChE Concept Warehouse. Interviews were also analyzed to identify common issues with the implementation process both from a software perspective as well as a curricular adoption perspective. Results from interviews are being used to iterate on the tool development and improve the overall design.


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