Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

DIANA BAIRAKATROVA

Virginia Tech
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 07:39 p.m.

    Hi All and Welcome to "Taking the pressure of learning Thermodynamics" presentation. 

    Our two-year project uses quasi-experimental design where all participants are undergraduate students working individually on a semester-long project in an engineering thermodynamics course. Students were asked to assume the role of a global project manager proposing a thermal system for a developing country that has persistent energy problems. During the first year of the study, participants completed the project without vObjects. The second year, students used the presented in the video vObjects tool. We are at the completion of the second stage of data collection - the students proposals from the two groups will be evaluated by practicing engineers in the energy field, blind to the two conditions. 

    We would love to hear from you!

  • Icon for: Jay Labov

    Jay Labov

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 03:04 p.m.

    Thank you very much for producing and submitting this video. You are working on a very important learning tool for studying thermodynamics. I'm pleased to see its level of interactivity and the fact that it is based on real world engineering problems. It's also great that you are testing how well vObjects improves learning by comparing the quality of proposals that students produce related to thermodynamic problems by having the comparison made by professional engineers in the field.

    If you plan to continue developing this tool, I have two suggestions for additional work that you might wish to consider:

    1. I think it would be helpful for visitors to your website to be be able to actually experience what vObjects can do. In other words, could you produce videos that show more details of the program in action or allow visitors to your website to use the application directly for some limited purposed so they can better understand its potential?

    2. I'm hypothesizing that students may have a number of misconceptions about various principles or concepts of thermodynamics. Perhaps vObjects also can be used (either in its current from or with some minor adjustments) to help uncover such misconceptions and allow students to correct them? If you can demonstrate some success in doing this, I think that the application might then be modified to help address misconceptions in a number of fields.

    I hope these ideas are helpful.

  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:57 p.m.

    Dear Jay,

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments! Your suggestions are straight to the point and I am happy to say that my research team has already been working on the first one. We recently granted access to the vObjects tool to anyone who would like to interact with. Instructors, students, or researchers can download the tool (for Windows and MacOS) by requesting a user password. The vObjects is currently hosted on my research lab website (http://aced.enge.vt.edu/) and so much advertised yet, so I very much like your suggestion for short demonstrations for limited applications. We will definitely consider creating these in the summer.

    I very much like your second suggestion as well. For someone teaching thermodynamics for several years, I agree that misconceptions in thermo, and in energy science in general, are serious bottlenecks. I have been using a thermo concept inventory as pre- and post test while teaching and we also did collect data for the vObjects study using the same concept inventory as well to ensure that we account for other variables that can contribute to the efficacy of the vObjects. We are currently analyzing that data to confirm with the literature or to identify new students misconceptions. We can definitely thing of ways to help uncover misconceptions and eventually help students correct them through the tool.  

    Great suggestions, thanks again!

     

     

     

     

  • May 14, 2019 | 08:39 a.m.

    Great project! I think it's great that you've incorporated the economics into the project as well. I'm curious about how you are assessing student learning.

  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 03:59 p.m.

    Thank you Rebecca!

    We are assessing students learning in the following ways:

    1. Students individual projects are evaluated by professional engineers blind to the conditions (no vObjects vObjects).

    2. Comparing students grades on multiple assignments including final exam.

    3. To account for pre-knowledge and misconceptions of Thermodynamics among the participants from
    both groups, we also asked students to complete a Thermodynamics Concept Inventory.

    We will be happy to share more about the project or answer any other questions you may have.

    Thanks,

    Diana

  • Icon for: Ivory Toldson

    Ivory Toldson

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 12:16 p.m.

    Hello All! My name is Ivory Toldson, professor at Howard University, president of Quality Education for Minorities, and one of the facilitators for the STEM for All Video Showcase. The conversation is off to a great start and I will be chiming in with my own input this afternoon and over the next few days. I'm excited about what we can achieve for the next generation of STEM learners!

  • Icon for: Ivory Toldson

    Ivory Toldson

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 02:52 p.m.

    I think that the solution that you have developed is timely and has the potential impact large audiences. Virtual learning is becoming increasingly more important as it provides learning institutions, which may have budgetary restraints, access to more affordable alternative ways of teaching and learning. As of now, the tool is being utilized by student at the undergraduate level. I am curious to know if, this tool could be useful to students at varying education levels. For instance, at the highschool level or the advanced graduate level. 

  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:04 a.m.

    Thank you for the post and questions! Definitely, the tool can be useful for high school and graduate students learning of energy science. Our projects ends at the end of July but we plan to modify the tool for broader users, not just in school level but also for the use in multiple engineering and STEM disciplines.

  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 10:18 p.m.

    The ability to manipulate objects with this program is very helpful given the cost and size of some real life objects (e.g., the power plant). The introduction of economics along with the science is a nice addition. I'm wondering how flexible the program is -- that is, does the program contain a suite of objects/concepts/etc. that can be chosen depending on the problem the user is trying to answer or simulate?

  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 10:17 a.m.

    Thank you for post and the interest Judith!

    In our work, the learning activity is formulated in a realistic scenario context in regards to the students thermodynamics project. Students designed the system using the vObjects provided in the virtual learning environment through interaction with vObjects representing abstract concepts and physical objects.

    Students have choices of different types of vObjects. The vObject library includes essential set of engineering devices of a thermal system. These devices were created to virtually represent physical Steam Turbine Power System. The essential devices (vObjects): Tube Boiler (flame, solar, etc.), variable speed combustion blower, super heat dome, pump, Water level site glass, safety features (Over Pressure and Temperature), fill/drain system, steam turbine and electrical Generator (Converts mechanical into electrical power) and steam condenser tower (air cooled) are some of the virtual objects that are in our vObject learning tool.

    Further, students define attributes and specifications of these vObjects, and configure the objects in different ways including specifying appropriate interactions to develop a prototype of the thermal system they are proposing. Students have the option to test the thermal system in different types of environment, depending on the geographical, social-economic, political environment, and population of the country.  Students also have access to a virtual library with a collection of different formulas that they can choose from to calculate performance and thermal efficiency of their proposed thermal system.

     

  • Icon for: Judith Dilts

    Judith Dilts

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2019 | 03:18 p.m.

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Krishna Pakala

    Krishna Pakala

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 10:33 a.m.

    Hi Dr. Bairaktarova: Congratulations to you and your team for creating this important learning engine. VObjects really will empower students as it really shines light on inquiry learning.

    (1) I am curious how the economic considerations are incorporated into the program? 

    (2) Do you anticipate this program working in a team environment where different students are in charge of different components etc. The reason I say that is your team already casted the project's responsibility of global engineer so it would be nice to have students take different roles.

    (3) It will also be interesting to have modules on ethics and feasibility of their designs may be as test cases

    Overall your team's work has huge potential and I wish your team all the success. Thanks, Krishna

  • Icon for: Diana Bairakatrova

    Diana Bairakatrova

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 11:11 a.m.

    Dr. Pakala, thank you for your post and wonderful suggestions!

    I will be happy to share more about how we incorporated the economic impact considerations in the vObjects tool. 

    Your ideas of students' different roles and modules on ethics are spot on. We will definitely consider implementing these in the next version of vObjects.

    Thanks,

    Diana

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.