Evaluation of Cool-It
Awardees: John Pfotenhauer, Greg Nellis
Team Members: David Gagnon, Mike Litzgow, Chris Blakesley
Department: Mechanical Engineering
We have developed an on-line game, built around a simple simulator, as an innovative approach to mitigate the time and budget constraints that hinder the development of engineering expertise within a typical one-semester course. Students playing the game, as an alternative to calculation-based homework sets, develop a rich empirical understanding of the engineering principles of interest. A variety of gaming features such as real-life role-playing, competition, and graphically amplified results transform a Matlab-based simulator from being merely a sophisticated calculator into a learning tool that motivates exploration and provides rapid meaningful feedback to real-life engineering design challenges. As with many engineering projects, solutions are obtained by adjusting a variety of interrelated parameters within a set of physical constraints to satisfy a threshold condition.