School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 97331


Phone:  541-737-4591

[link to full CV]



B.S.  University of California, San Diego, Chemical Engineering

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Chemical Engineering


Current Research Group

Debra Gilbuena, Postdoc.; Bill Brooks, Ph. D.; Erick Nefcy, Ph. D.; Kritsa Chindanon, Ph. D.; Christina Smith, Ph.D., Surya Venkatasekhar Cheemalapati, M.S.; Jaynie Whinnery, M.S.; Lauren Cummings, B.S.; Daniel Reid, B.S.; Rachel White, B.S.; Talia Finkelstein, B.S.


Photo of Milo Koretsky and his 2012 lab group

Photo Caption:  Koretsky Group: Front row: (left to right) Rachel White, Jaynie Whinnery, Talia Finkelstein, Christina Smith. Back row: Daniel Reid, Kritsa Chindanon, Erick Nefcy, Milo Koretsky, Sekhar Cheemalapati, Bill Brooks, Debbi Gilbuena.


Research Areas

The Koretsky group interests include innovative curricular design and engineering education research. Specifically, we are interested in developing and studying technology-based innovations that are designed to promote higher order cognition, knowledge integration, adaptive expertise and development of professional epistemology.


Current projects include:

The Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratory ProjectScreenshot of Reactor Bay in Virtual CVD Project

[[]] The long term goal of the Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratory Project is to contribute to the understanding of how engaging engineering students in authentic, ill-structured engineering tasks enables the development of their engineering knowledge and skills. Since 2005, we have developed, implemented, and studied student learning in cyber-enabled learning systems. Central to each of these learning systems is a virtual reactor that enables a team of students to develop, test, and refine solutions to an engineering process development task. Two virtual reactors have been developed, the Virtual Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Reactor and the Virtual Bio Reactor. Each of these has been integrated into a learning system. We are assessing the effectiveness of these learning systems using qualitative and quantitative methods including by collecting data, including recordings and ethnographic field notes of students and experts as they complete the task, analysis of their work products (e.g., notebooks, reports, presentations), and reflections on the experience after they have completed the task.


The AIChE Concept Warehouse

[[]] Oregon State is the lead on this collaborative project with the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Kentucky. The goal of this project is to create a community of learning within the discipline of chemical engineering (ChE) focused on concept-based instruction by faculty at the ASEE Concept Warehouse Workshopdeveloping and promoting the use of a cyber-enabled infrastructure for conceptual questions, the AIChE Concept Warehouse. We intend this tool to be used throughout the core ChE curriculum (Material and Energy Balances, Thermodynamics, Transport Phenomena, Kinetics and Reactor Design, and Materials Science). Conceptual questions, both as Concept Inventories and ConcepTests, are available through an interactive website maintained through the Education Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the discipline’s major professional society. The overall objective is to lower the activation barrier for using conceptual instruction and assessment so that many more chemical engineering faculty will incorporate concept-based learning into their classes. In the OSU Concept Warehouse, we are extending this project to include pilots in mathematics, chemistry, physics and mechanical engineering.


clipart of forklift with boxesStudios in Core CBEE ClassesThis project coordinates implementation of studio architecture in nine core CBEE courses. In the studio-based curriculum design, classes are divided with studios interspersed between lectures, and students are afforded the opportunity to actively engage the content presented in the large lectures. The foundation of the studio architecture is based on the demonstrated effectiveness of active learning pedagogies from the physics education research community. These methods seek to promote a substantially higher level of engagement from students during in-class times.


Interactive Virtual Laboratories: The curricular reform in the project is enabled through the creation of computer-enabled Interactive Virtual Laboratories. The design of these laboratories is based on allowing students to see and explore alternative representations of the phenomena that they are learning. They are being developed based on best practices from the literature including the predict, observe, explain technique proposed by Gunstone and Champagne. The simulations allow inquiry-based, scaffolded activity targeted at threshold concepts. Each threshold concept has several activities that provide multiple representations. Whenever possible students are asked to predict and explain the effects of macroscopic changes (i.e., pressure, temperature, composition, energy) based on observations of molecular properties. Activities guide students to perform experiments using the Interactive Virtual Laboratory, but also to place the virtual experiments in the context of the concepts that they are learning.


Selected Recent Publications

M.D. Koretsky. 2013. Engineering and Chemical Thermodynamics, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons.  693 pages.

D.M. Gilbuena, F.A. Kirsch, and M.D. Koretsky. 2012. Use of an Authentic, Industrially Situated Project to Address Engineering Design and Scientific Inquiry in High Schools,” Advances in Engineering Education, Special Issue on P-12 Engineering. 3(2), P8:1-32.

M.D. Koretsky and B.J. Brooks. 2012. Student Attitudes in the Transition to an Active Learning Technology. Chemical Engineering Education, 46(1), 289-297.

D.M. Gilbuena, E.J. Nefcy, M.D. Koretsky. 2012. The Effect of Feedback on Modeling in an Authentic Process Development Project. 42nd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings, 1045-1050.

E.J. Nefcy, E.S. Gummer, and M.D. Koretsky. 2012. Characterization of Student Modeling in an Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratory. Proceedings of the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition.

M.D. Koretsky, C. Kelly, and E.S. Gummer. 2011. Student Perceptions of Learning in the Laboratory: Comparison of Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratories to Capstone Physical Laboratories. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(3), 540-573.

B.J. Brooks and M.D. Koretsky. 2011. The Influence of Group Discussion on Students’ Responses and Confidence during Peer Instruction. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(11), 1477-1484.

C. Barker, A. Badowski, B. Whitefield, K.L. Levien, and M.D. Koretsky. 2011. Factors Affecting Thickness Variation of SiO2 Thin Films Grown by Wet Oxidation. IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing. 24, 348-357.

M.D. Koretsky, C. Kelly, and E.S. Gummer. 2011. Student Learning in Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratories. Chemical Engineering Education, 45(3), 219-228. Invited for Special Issue in Fundamental Research in Engineering Education.

A.D. Jameson, J.W. Kevek, J.L. Tomaino, M. Hemphill-Johnston, M.J. Paul, M.D. Koretsky, E.D. Minot, and Y.S. Lee. 2011. Terahertz spectroscopy of Ni-Ti alloy thin films. Applied Physics Letters, 98(22), 221111-1-3.

M.D. Koretsky and B.J. Brooks. 2011. A Comparison of Student Responses to Easy and Difficult Thermodynamics Conceptual Questions during Peer Instruction. International Journal of Engineering Education, 27(4), 897-908.

B.U. Sherrett, D.M. Gilbuena, E.J. Nefcy, E.S. Gummer, and M.D. Koretsky. 2011. An Expert-Novice Study of Transfer in an Ill-Structured Problem. Research in Engineering Education Symposium, Madrid, Spain.



ChE 312  Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II

ChE 444/544 Thin Film Materials Processing

CBEE 414. Process Engineering Laboratory 1