Same goal, but different paths: Learning, explaining and understanding entropy
2015 (English)In: / [ed] Stefan Pålsson, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
Engineering students train to discuss conclusionsand results in different ways as part of their education. This is often done in connection to learning disciplinary knowledge where comparisons with and connections to previous courses play an important role. Students from different programs can have distinctly different repertoires of concepts and experiences when starting a course. This influences their learning on the course and how they communicate afterwards. We explore this issue in relation to engineering students’ explanations about entropy and how these change during a course in thermodynamics. A questionnaire study was done during the spring semester 2014 with students enrolling in a course on chemical thermodynamics. Students were asked to explain the concept of entropy and list scientific concepts they relate to entropy both before and after the course. A qualitative analysis was done for the 73 students who answered the questionnaire both before and after the course. Analysis showed that disorder was the most common aspect in student explanations, both before and after the course, but that many students used the concept ina more critical and reflective manner after the course. We also found that student explanations develop in richness by involving more aspects after the course. This development is dependent on the resources students bring with them when enrolling in the course. This is especially clear for students from the Master Programme in Chemical Engineering, who to a larger extent use microscopic elements, such as interaction between particles, in their explanations already before the course.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Physics with specialization in Physics Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-268216OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-268216DiVA: diva2:876192
5:e utvecklingskonferensen för Sveriges ingenjörsutbildningar, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, 18-19 november