Center for Teaching and Learning

A novel approach to thermodynamics

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Thermodynamics is a foundational topic in science and engineering, but little research exists on the best way to teach it. A team led by materials science Professor Alberto Salleo recently tested a new approach by creating a graphic novel to demonstrate key thermodynamic principles in motivationally-engaging and pedagogically effective ways. The novel uses a fictional storyline and professionally drawn diagrams to help students confront and move beyond common misconceptions about the laws of thermodynamics. Salleo’s course also utilizes targeted video lectures and online assessments to help students review core concepts and practice outside of class.