Connecting Teaching and Research Through Problem Based Learning in Thermal and Automotive Engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Engineering




Al-Abdeli, Y. M., & Bullen, F. (2006). Connecting teaching and research through problem based learning in thermal and automotive engineering. In Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: Creativity, Challenge, Change; Partnerships in Engineering Education (p. 19). Australasian Association for Engineering Education.


The effectiveness of problem based teaching in promoting experiential learning is well established. Literature highlights a number of innovative teaching techniques and case studies that have been applied to enrich curricula in thermal, automotive and product design. This paper reports on a new approach that has been adopted to invigorate undergraduate coursework in mechanical engineering design. The methods described are applied to small groups of students working in a case study, design-based, learning environment to promote understanding of thermal and automotive engineering principles. The overall challenge is to design a cooling system for an internal combustion engine. Lecture notes convey the fundamental knowledge required to accomplish the design while augmenting and linking that knowledge with the outcomes of current research in the field. This linking facet of the teaching process allows the nexus between teaching and research to be explored by the students within the PBL platform.

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