Teaching | Department of Mechanical Engineering (2022)

Teaching Philosophy of Professor Biswas

I find teaching enjoyable and incredibly rewarding. Achieving excellence in teaching requires tremendous sincere efforts and a high level of commitment to the students. My teaching interests include plasma science, fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, rocket propulsion, heat transfer, energy conversion, combustion, laser diagnostics, and CFD. I am a strong supporter of specialized hands-on learning in the form of design, build, and test (DBT) classes, e.g., hybrid and ion propulsion, experimental plasma physics, advanced energy systems, etc.

I focus on two critical factors in my teaching: passion and preparation. Showing love while teaching my subjects and being prepared, organized, and ready for any question has helped me to run a successful teaching session. I have come across many eager, enthusiastic students with various experiences and backgrounds throughout my entire teaching career. It is a challenge to teach students of diverse age groups, educational and cultural backgrounds. I have always tried to provide an environment so that the students feel comfortable and confident in asking questions and seeking guidance. I honestly believe I will be successful as a teacher only after all my students are provided with the opportunity to think and enjoy learning.

As a teacher, my goal is to spread knowledge and encourage learning. Every moment that I find myself standing in a classroom lecturing, managing discussion forums online, helping students solving homework, writing supplementary lecture notes, or sitting with an individual during my office hours, I try to keep three questions in mind,

  • ‘Am I being clear and concise?’
  • ‘Do I engage the minds of the students on the subject?
  • ‘Is my teaching strategy useful?’

I find the students spend considerable effort in establishing a mental picture, or mental model, of how the parts of an aerospace or thermodynamic system work. When I sense that students are unable to understand a particular concept satisfactorily, I may reteach that material from an entirely new angle. I try to connect the previous knowledge of the students with the present material. There is no one way of explaining and teaching; I believe teachers should remain flexible about how concepts are explained. This effort is a simple yet exceedingly useful strategy. It is the willingness to go the extra mile for the welfare of the student’s learning process that leads to excellence in teaching.

As an instructor, I take it upon myself to inspire young minds by showing them the wonders of cutting-edge research and the real-world impacts of the material that the course encompasses. I feel that unity in diversity is the key to becoming successful since teacher plays many distinct roles, such as an instructor, a mentor, a researcher, or an inspirational person in a student’s life. My previous experience of teaching distance students who are working full-time in the aerospace industry has allowed me to communicate effectively with diverse groups of students. Furthermore, active learning methods such as group discussions, team projects, presentations, creative hands-on experiments, etc., encourage teamwork, professional and personal development, rational critical thinking, and enhance the problem-solving skills of our young future engineers and scientists. Frequent and productive student-to-faculty interactions in and outside the classroom are an essential part of my teaching process.

Teaching is an exhilarating experience. I feel energized after a teaching session that has gone well. Working with undergraduate and graduate students has helped me develop my thought process and gain a unique perspective on multiple ways to approach an engineering problem. The aspect of teaching I love most is the questions from the students. Questions, discussions, arguments, and skepticism are the backbones of the scientific learning process. Questions from students help me understand how the students think, compel me to think, provide an alternate explanation, and broaden my perspective. It also helps modify my teaching methods and strategies. As an instructor, teaching is a learning experience. When students start asking questions, it indicates that my teaching has successfully evoked their interest and curiosity. I get immense satisfaction when a student understands a difficult concept or learns how to solve a problem. I like watching the students grow and evolve through the coursework and eventually succeed in their life.

Current Courses

Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is a discipline with an extensive range of applicability in engineering and technology. A clear understanding of thermodynamics is essential for all engineers, chemists, and material scientists. Thermodynamics teaches the relationships between heat, temperature, energy/work, and how materials properties could affect them. The laws of thermodynamics explain the difference in the behavior of ‘real’ systems from ‘ideal’ systems, inaccessible and absolute limits of practical systems. Thermodynamics illustrates how heat can be converted into work – the fundamental concept of heat engines. Internal combustion engines, rocket engines, gas turbines, and steam turbines are examples of heat engines. Thermodynamics has a widespread application in nearly all engineering problems and an essential course in the undergraduate engineering curriculum.

ME 3331 Thermodynamics syllabus: Properties, equations of state, processes, cycles for reversible and irreversible thermodynamic systems. Modes of energy transfer. Equations for conservation of mass, energy, entropy balances. Application of thermodynamic principles to modern engineering systems.

Energy Conversion

Energy conversion is the process of changing one form of energy into another. There are many different types of energy, including kinetic, potential, chemical, wind, solar, electrical energy, etc. However, we frequently convert one form of energy to another. We cannot solely rely on a single energy source. For example, wind energy can be converted into electrical energy, stored into an EV battery, or converted into liquid renewable fuels for later use. Energy conversion provides a critical knowledge base besides energy generation and energy storage.

Teaching | Department of Mechanical Engineering (1)

Teaching | Department of Mechanical Engineering (2)

Garfield Cartoon

Fall 2021

ME3331 Thermodynamics – Made several adjustments to accommodate students’ needs during the ongoing pandemic. Several students in my course contracted COVID. I ensured the students did not fall behind by keeping a flexible strategy for the class.
- Taught in hybrid mode since 2 out of 44 students could not attend in-person instructions due to COVID-related risks
- Provided live zoom streaming links and recorded zoom lectures via Canvas to students unable to attend in-person lectures
- Extensively use of visualization and animation from online resources, Wolfram simulation, and WileyPlus
- Self-made mid-semester (after the first midterm) assessment
- In-class demonstration of Stirling engine running on steam (hot water) and ice
- All HWs were based on practical, real-world examples
- Talked history of thermodynamics to make the topics interesting and enjoyable
- Flexible HW submission policy – HWs could be submitted via Canvas, in class, or by email
- Utilized open-source software (e.g., CyclePad) that is intuitive and easy to use for HWs
- Evening office hours, extra office hours before midterms, and final
- Provided additional exams for students who missed midterms and final
- Created short 2-5 minutes videos via Loom to clarify homework problems or share interesting ideas
- Utilized popular web platforms like Tiktok and Twitter to post interesting learning videos

Spring 2022

No teaching.


Fall 2022

ME4431w Energy Conversion Systems Laboratory – Hands-on laboratory course explaining different energy conversion systems such as engines, gas turbines, pumps, fuel cells, etc.

Syllabus in a nutshell: Analyze operation/control of engines, power plants, and heating/ventilation systems. Performance characteristics of devices, measurement techniques. Interpretation of experimental data. Presentation of results.

Past Courses

My academic training in mechanical and aerospace engineering enables me to develop and teach courses related to both mechanical and aerospace engineering. My teaching interests include plasma science, turbulence and fluids, rockets and air-breathing propulsion, supersonic and hypersonic flows, heat and mass transfer, combustion and reacting flows, CFD, spectroscopy, and laser diagnostics.

Previously, I was involved in the following graduate (G) and undergraduate (UG) courses as a teaching assistant at Purdue and UConn.

  • Advanced Rocket Propulsion (G)
  • Rocket Propulsion (G, UG)
  • Aerospace Propulsion (UG)
  • Air-Breathing Propulsion (G, UG)
  • Renewable Energy (G)
  • Fluid Dynamics (UG)

Teaching | Department of Mechanical Engineering (3)

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