A Case Study of a Thermodynamics Course: Informing Online Course Design


  • S. Hall, C. T. Amelink, S.S. Conn


This paper reports on a case study involving the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data to propose online course design of an undergraduate thermodynamics course. The data includes students’ selfefficacy as it relates to problem-solving and students’ epistemic beliefs as they relate to interacting with peers, instructors, and instruction. Thermodynamics is an abstract engineering course with intense problem solving. The case study methodology provides baseline data for construction of an online thermodynamics course informed by audience characteristics, learning traits, preferences for instruction and modes of interaction, tendencies toward absolute knowledge, dualistic and nonrelativistic profiles, and lack of collaborative skills. This investigation is significant and of interest to educators faced with the challenge of teaching thermodynamics online to a student population with low to moderate levels of epistemic belief and/or low self-regulation and selfefficacy. The study serves as a baseline for follow-on research and establishment of a line of inquiry to refine a methodology for elevating levels of students’ epistemic belief in collaborative learning environment for engineering courses (online or face-to-face).




How to Cite

S. Hall, C. T. Amelink, S.S. Conn. (2010). A Case Study of a Thermodynamics Course: Informing Online Course Design. Journal of Online Engineering Education, 1(2). Retrieved from http://onlineengineeringeducation.com/index.php/joee/article/view/7