An experiential and inductively structured process control course in chemical engineering

David L. Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An inductive approach to teaching chemical engineering courses has been demonstrated to improve student learning in courses such as mass transfer and stoichiometry. One course particularly well-suited to elements of inductive structure is chemical process control, where experiential learning can also be applied to maximize student learning. This paper discusses the first two implementations of an inductive course structure in this three-hour senior-level course at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky. Six chemical engineering oriented laboratory experiments in process control are integrated into the course to enable students to make observations, draw conclusions, and establish relationships for specific cases. During subsequent lecture periods students develop the observations they make into general relationships, many of which they later test in the laboratory. Assessment conducted on student learning indicates that laboratory exercises were most valuable when they preceded classroom discussion (in an inductive structure), provided that the instructions for the experiments and their analysis were very detailed. Noninductive exercises were preferred for difficult material to aid in developing practical understanding of theoretical concepts. The biggest flaw with incorporating labs into a course scheduled around traditional lecture periods, according to students, was the time it took to complete labs involving heat transfer processes. Processes with shorter time constants, such as flow, level, and pressure control, were preferred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6173-6186
Number of pages14
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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