Effectiveness of blended learning for an energy balance course

  • Konstantinos Apostolou McMaster University


The effectiveness of on-line modules in a fundamental chemical engineering course is examined. An undergraduate second-year course on vapour-liquid equilibrium and energy balances is augmented by six online
modules. Each module consists of supplementary lecture material for the students in the form of screencasts and interactive simulations followed by on-line quizzing on the fundamental aspects of the content. The quizzes of three of the six modules count for a small percentage of the final course grade (2% each), whereas the quizzes of the other three are offered only for self-assessment. The primer mode of instruction is still “traditional” face-toface. Access to the on-line resources is monitored and
recorded. The major question that is being examined is whether students value the on-line resources and access them to enhance or clarify their learning, or simply try only the on-line “mandatory”, for grade, components. Correlations between students GPA, achievement in the course, attendance to class and on-line module access and quiz achievement are also investigated. Student qualitative feedback on the effectiveness and value of the on-line material is also collected.
Students in general value on-line resources: they let students work at their own pace, on their own schedule, and provide immediate feedback. This work assesses the degree to which such resources provide added value to a course that is phenomenologically outside the corecurriculum (the course is not taught to chemical engineer students) and within a busy study term