428125 Learning By Problem Design and Problem Solving

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Marcel A. Liauw, ITMC, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen 52074, Germany

The class "Reaction engineering for chemistry students" is perceived difficult: chemistry students are not well prepared to learn the (mathematical) approaches that engineers take.

One strategy is to prime them in the materials, and then ask them to work with that material, preparing problems set in a virtual chemical company where the material would help solving that problem. This problem design may be assigned as group work. The submitted problems (with solutions) are reviewed, and can then be issued for all students (without solutions). Here, a discussion may start on how to even improve or expand certain nice problems. It appears that this active involvement can deepen the students' understanding of the material. It certainly reveals some very creative potential.

The approach can be discussed in the light of educational literature. It is e.g. reported that problem creation is a skill that must undergo a learning curve itself: starting with simple designs ("true/false" etc.), students will get more comfortable step by step, moving towards more complex problems as they continue.

Ideally, the designed problems are assessed by a practitioner who may give an invited presentation on the last day of class, also commenting on the relevance and quality of the problems in a supportive manner.

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See more of this Session: Poster Session: Chemical Engineering Education
See more of this Group/Topical: Education Division