Thumbnail Image

Graphical user interfaces as chemical engineering educational tools in university and informal learning environments

Ford Versypt, Ashlee N.
I will discuss 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. MATLAB and Python 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. These GUIs can be distributed and run easily by novice users without any prior programming experience. I will provide examples of customized GUIs from my research lab and courses that demonstrate their use in the undergraduate curriculum, in an interdisciplinary upper division/graduate elective 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 my 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.