Energy Stem Innovations Miniconference
28–29 May 2003
University of Wisconsin

The focus of the miniconference is on instruction in the energy stem of mechanical engineering. We are bringing together faculty who have been involved with innovations in curricula, courses, and pedagogy. We plan in-depth discussions, especially on the concepts underlying thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.

We have structured the miniconference to allow each of you to tell us what you have done since last year and what you are working on now. Your presentation should focus on why you think that your approach is effective and how it can be made more effective. (The presentation can be as formal as you wish and range from a verbal presentation to a PowerPoint presentation.) Several of us have been working on “concept inventories,” and we believe instruction that helps students learn the concepts of energy stem courses is important to master the subject. We will be building on the concepts we developed last year in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer and discussing the inventories that have resulted.

Prior to the miniconference we will send material that we would like you to critique. (We won’t send you more than you can read on an airplane flight!) We will discuss this material during the miniconference.


Wednesday, May 28
8:00 a.m. Continental breakfast, welcome, introductions, overview
8:30 a.m. Presentation and discussion of what you have done since last year and what you are working on now
10:30 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Divide into small groups (thermo, fluids, heat transfer) and review the relevant concept lists and the inventories
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Report on review of the concept lists and the inventories
2:30 p.m. Videos of the University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois students' discussion concepts (all)
3:30 p.m. Break
4:00 p.m. Small group discussion of
    Why do students have difficulty learning concepts?
    What can we do to help them learn concepts?
5:30 p.m. Adjourn
6:30 p.m. Dinner

Thursday, May 29
8:00 a.m. Continental breakfast
8:30 a.m. Small-groups discussion of Peer Instruction by Eric Mazur. Address the question "Are these ideas applicable to instruction in the energy courses?"
10:00 a.m. Report out
10:30 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. Small-groups discussion and planning of individual efforts to undertake the next year
12:00 noon Report out
12:30 p.m. Box lunch and adjourn

For further information, contact John Mitchell at .


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