Analysis of Student Perspectives on Using Tablet PCs in Junior and Senior Level Chemical Engineering Courses

  • Enrique PalouEmail author
  • Zaira Ramírez-Apud
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
  • Aurelio López-Malo
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


The How People Learn framework was used to redesign one junior-level chemical engineering course entitled Kinetics and Homogeneous Reactor Design (seventh semester) as well as two senior-level courses, Catalysis and Heterogeneous Reactor Design (eighth semester) and Process Dynamics and Control (ninth semester). Our goal was to improve chemical engineering teaching and learning by creating high-quality learning environments that promote an interactive classroom while integrating formative assessments into classroom practices by means of Tablet PCs and associated technologies. In order to examine how students perceived the use of Tablet PCs and associated technologies, we conducted semi-structured interviews with students that had completed the course sequence. The analysis indicated a number of themes that consistently appeared within the interview sessions and were addressed by students from different viewpoints. Five overall themes emerged: student experience in using Tablet PCs, impact on learning, potential of Tablet PCs and associated technologies, formative assessments, as well as advantages and disadvantages of using the Tablet PC in studied classrooms. This paper reports upon the themes identified in the analysis of the results from the semi-structured interviews.


Undergraduate Student Formative Assessment Classroom Practice Student Quote Active Learning Support 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge financial support from HEWLETT-PACKARD (HP), through the HP Catalyst Grant Initiative for the project “Critical Support Systems to Enhance the Development of 21st Century Expertise in Engineering Students: Using Tablet PCs and Associated Technologies, the Framework for 21st Century Learning, and Guidelines from Research on How People Learn”. Author Ramrez-Apud acknowledges financial support for her PhD studies from the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACyT) and Universidad de las Americas Puebla.


  1. 1.
    Adler A, Davis R (2007) Speech and sketching: an empirical study of multimodal interaction. In: Proceedings of the 4th eurographics workshop on sketch-based interfaces and modeling, SBIM ’07. ACM, New York, NY, pp 83–90Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson R, Anderson R, Simon B, Wolfman SA, VanDeGrift T, Yasuhara K (2004) Experiences with a Tablet PC based lecture presentation system in computer science courses. In: Proceedings of the 35th SIGCSE technical symposium on computer science education, SIGCSE ’04. ACM, New York, NY, pp 56–60Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anderson R, Hoyer C, Prince C, Su J, Videon F, Wolfman S (2004) Speech, ink, and slides: the interaction of content channels. In: Proceedings of the 12th annual ACM international conference on multimedia, MULTIMEDIA ’04. ACM, New York, NY, pp 796–803Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anderson R, McDowell L, Simon B (2005) Use of Classroom Presenter in engineering courses. In: Proceedings of the 35th annual conference on frontiers in education, FIE’05. IEEE, pp T2G–13Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bardin L (2002) Análisis de contenido. Ediciones Akal, 3rd edn. Madrid, SpainGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bransford JD, Brown AL, Cocking RR (1999) How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bransford J, Vye N, Bateman H (2002) Creating high-quality learning environments: guidelines from research on how people learn. In: Proceedings of the knowledge economy and postsecondary education: report of workshop, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, pp 159–198Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Carney K (2005) Toward a definition of HPL-ness. Center for the study of learning, instruction, and teacher development. University of Illinois, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Creswell JW (2012) Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cuba G, Judith V, Lopez-Malo A, Palou E (2011) Using Tablet PCs and associated technologies to reveal undergraduate and graduate student thinking. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. American Society for Engineering Education., Vancouver, BC,
  11. 11.
    Cuba G, Judith V, Lopez-Malo A, Palou E (2012) Graduate student perspectives on using Tablet PCs and associated technologies. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. American Society for Engineering Education. San Antonio, TX,
  12. 12.
    Jenkins JJ (1979) Four points to remember: A tetrahedral model of memory experiments. In: Cermak LS, Craik FIM (eds) Levels of processing in human memory. Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, pp 429–446Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jonassen DH (2010) Learning to solve problems: a handbook for designing problem-solving learning environments. Routledge, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kowalski F, Kowalski S, Hoover E (2007) Using InkSurvey: a free web-based tool for open-ended questioning to promote active learning and real-time formative assessment of tablet pc-equipped engineering students. In: Proceedings of the ASEE annual conference. American Society for Engineering Education. Honolulu, HI.
  15. 15.
    Palou E, Gazca L, García JAD, Lobato JAR, Ojeda LGG, Arnal JFT, Munguía MTJ, López-Malo A, Garibay JM (2012) High-quality learning environments for engineering design: using Tablet PCs and guidelines from research on how people learn. Int J Food Stud 1(1):1–16Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Prasad M, Hammond T (2012) Observational study on teaching artifacts created using Tablet PC. In: Proceedings of the CHI ’12 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, CHI EA ’12. ACM, New York, NY, pp 301–316Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Raigada JLP (2002) Epistemología, metodología y técnicas del análisis de contenido. Socioling Stud 3(1):1–42Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tofan DC (2009) Using a Tablet PC and OneNote 2007 to teach chemistry. J Chem Educ 87(1):47–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wiggins GP, McTighe J (2006) The understanding by design. Expanded 2nd edn, Merrill Education/ASCD, Upper Saddle River, NJGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Palou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zaira Ramírez-Apud
    • 2
  • Nelly Ramírez-Corona
    • 1
  • Aurelio López-Malo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Food Engineering, Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology EducationUniversidad de las Americas PueblaSan Andres CholulaMexico
  2. 2.School of BiologyBenemerita Universidad Autonoma de PueblaPueblaMexico

Personalised recommendations