Conference Presentation
Graphical User Interfaces as Chemical Engineering Educational Tools in University and Informal Learning Environments
July 30, 2019
This presentation discusses the development and use of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) as cyber-assisted educational tools for instructing and engaging undergraduate chemical engineering students, training graduate students for computational research in science and engineering, and introducing lay audiences to chemical engineering concepts in informal learning environments outside of the classroom. A GUI encapsulates computational software within a visual environment where users can provide interactive input through brief text or point-and-click controls and display query or simulation results through an automated process without needing to learn a programming language or specific commands. MATLAB and Python are two popular software environments for science and engineering used in many university chemical engineering programs worldwide. Both provide excellent user support for rapid development of professional-quality GUIs by engineering educators, academic researchers, and science and engineering undergraduate and graduate students. The resources for developing GUIs in MATLAB and Python will be introduced briefly for those interested in developing their own GUIs. These GUIs can be distributed and run easily by novice users without any prior programming experience. Examples of customized GUIs from the presenter's research lab and courses are shown to demonstrate their use in the undergraduate curriculum (specifically mass and energy balances, heat transfer, and chemical kinetics), in an interdisciplinary upper division/graduate elective that she developed called Applied Numerical Computing for Scientists and Engineers, and in several informal learning environments for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach. The informal learning environments where the presenter's team has utilized these GUIs include a pre-college program for incoming engineering freshmen, a summer camp for children of university alumni and the campers’ grandparents, and a hands-on science fair featuring interactive demonstration booths for middle school and high school girls and their teachers. We have documented two of our GUIs in detail in other publications and have made the codes for them available to other educators on our version-controlled online repositories to facilitate reuse.
Computational science, Curriculum, Education, Graphical user interface, Modelling, STEM Outreach
Suggested Citation
Ford Versypt AN. Graphical User Interfaces as Chemical Engineering Educational Tools in University and Informal Learning Environments. (2019). LAPSE:2019.0853
Author Affiliations
Ford Versypt AN*: Oklahoma State University [ORCID] [Google Scholar]
* Corresponding Author
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CAChE 50th
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Breckenridge, CO, USA
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Jul 30, 2019
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Poster: Graphical User Interfaces as Chemical Engineering Educational Tools in University and Informal Learning Environments