Ken Tuttle and Chih Wu

Department of Mechanical Engineering, 590 Holloway Rd. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 21402 EMAIL address:,, Telephone: 410-293-6512, Fax: 410-293-2591


Abstract: Since 1996, the Mechanical Engineering Department of the U.S. Naval Academy has evaluated and incorporated a new ICAI (intelligent Computer-Assisted Instruction) software called CyclePad into the thermodynamic curriculum for teaching a number of midshipmen in three different courses. The three courses are: (1) EM319, Engineering Thermodynamics for engineering major students, (2) EM443, Advanced Energy Conversion for Mechanical Engineering major students, and (3) EM300, Thermodynamics for non-engineering major students. Continuous improvements have been made to the software as evaluations of student receptiveness, compatibility to the course material, and user friendliness were made. This concurrent effort between Professor Forbus and his group at Northwestern University and Professor Wu at the U.S. Naval Academy has resulted in a successful integration of CyclePad into the classroom as a teaching, design and research tool. The content of the courses and the background of the midshipmen are described. The overall logic, goal, and approaches to the intelligent computer assisted are discussed. The development of the ICAI teaching material and a study of its effectiveness toward the stated goals are included.


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