Effects of requiring students to write abstracts for homework problem solutions

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1 Scopus citations


This paper describes a one-semester study in which students in a course on material balances were required to write abstracts for homework problems. Students were assigned weekly homework assignments which consisted of problems assigned from the course textbook. Students completed the assignments in teams of three and submitted one solution per team. However, in addition, each individual student was required to write an abstract for each problem. In the abstracts, students summarized the purpose of the problem, the system under consideration, the known and unknown information and the solution procedure. There were two purposes to assigning the abstracts. First, it was hypothesized that requiring students to write about their problem solutions in a reflective way could foster a more thorough understanding of the processes being modeled, and instill in students a conscious recognition of effective problem-solving strategies. Second, it was hypothesized that the abstracts would provide an effective tool for assessing individual contributions to the team assignments. The authors present an assessment of the impact of the abstracts, specifically addressing the following question: Did students attain the learning objectives of the course more thoroughly than students in a previous cohort, who completed comparable homework problems in teams of the same size, but who were not required to write abstracts?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013


Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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