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A COVID inspired accessible first year design activity appropriate for introductory course

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2021 First-Year Engineering Experience



Publication Date

August 9, 2021

Start Date

August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

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Jennifer Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Dr. Jennifer Bailey is a Senior Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she has taught since January of 2014. She previously taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Southern Indiana after graduating from Purdue University. Bailey's passion is lab course development and improving student learning through enhancing lab and other hands-on experiences.

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The goals of our first semester, single credit, workshop-style Introduction to Biomedical Engineering course are to introduce students to the field, the curriculum and to introduce and practice quantitative problem solving, effective teamwork, and the design process. The course covers these goals in by team and project based learning by stepping through the design process for a single device. The course is also scenario based, in that students receive memos from a fictitious simulated company that addresses the team as professionals, rather than students. Once the overall objective for a device is presented, the student teams develop of the problem statement, utilize data and modeling to make design decisions, and build the prototype which concludes with its evaluation. The general course format is to introduce a concept in large group lecture, to practice the concept in workshop, and to apply the concept to the semester long design project. In response to the pandemic, a new project was developed for the fall semester of 2020 for two main reasons. The proposed project is something that could be done in classrooms rather than laboratories, and the recent relevance and awareness of airborne particles motivates students. This semester, we used paper and spreadsheet based modeling and available empirical data of fans and filters to aide in the design process to replace experimental testing that was performed in prior semesters because of the challenges due to lab capacity and cleaning concerns. Student teams completed needs assessment, set design specifications, completed details. Teamwork and presentation were evaluated at regular intervals including formal design reviews at # and # weeks of the project, the first in person/hybris and the second fully remote. Evaluation criteria used for testing included cost, portability quantified by size and weight, filtration effectiveness, and noise. Evaluating the effectiveness of the prototypes was easily performed inside a transparent chamber using a fog machine and optical imaging of the fog, resulting in a fun cumulative experience during the final week of the course. A challenge of this project was ordering and shipping of materials. As compared to previous semesters, this project led to a significant amount of purchasing because different teams concepts were highly divergent from one another. Students learned first hand about considering purchase process and delivery delay times in their project timeline and some delays led to last minute adjustments to their design. Overall we are very excited about how this project went and recommend it for any introduction to engineering course that has a focus on design. We will share materials that we used to deliver this, as well as access to a digital repository of materials

Bailey, J. (2021, August), A COVID inspired accessible first year design activity appropriate for introductory course Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual .

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