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A Learning Module Involving Point-of-Care Testing and Team-Based Design Implemented in an Upper-level Biomedical Engineering Elective Course

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Innovations in Upper-level Biomedical Engineering Courses

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.61.1 - 26.61.14



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Paper Authors


Michael J. Rust Western New England University

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Michael J. Rust received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, in 2003 and 2009, respectively. During his undergraduate training, he worked for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and AtriCure, companies which specialize in the development of novel surgical devices. While completing his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Rust served as an NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellow, which allowed him to develop hands-on engineering activities for high school students. In 2009, he joined the faculty of Western New England University as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. He currently teaches undergraduate courses in bioinstrumentation, physiology, lab on a chip, and global health. Dr. Rust is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). His research interests involve the development of point-of-care medical technologies, including bioinstrumentation for use in low-resource settings.

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A Learning Module Involving Point-of-Care Testing and Team- Based Design Implemented in an Upper Level Biomedical Engineering Elective CourseRecently, there has been significant interest within the medical community for the developmentof devices to enable point-of-care testing (POCT) [1, 2]. These technologies allow clinicalmeasurements to be made wherever the patient is located, such as inside ambulances and homesas well as in the field during disaster relief [2]. Due to this growing interest, there is a need forbiomedical engineers that have experience with POCT, including the inherent challengesinvolved with the use of portable devices outside of a hospital setting. In this work, a learningmodule was developed and implemented in an upper level biomedical engineering course toprovide students experience with practical aspects of POCT through a team-based design project.The design project was integrated within XXX – Biosensors, BioMEMS, and Nanomedicine,which introduces students to the use of micro- and nanotechnologies in biomedical and lifesciences. In the previous course offering, a lecture was provided that introduced the topic ofPOCT to students, including the use of miniaturized components to enable the creation ofportable instruments. In the revised course format, a team-based design project was implementedto provide students with practical training regarding the use of POCT devices in harshenvironmental conditions. The project, which was introduced on the first day of the class andsubsequently worked on throughout the semester, involved the development of a container thatcould protect a POCT device from extreme temperatures when used outside of a hospital setting(e.g., by medical responders during disaster relief). Once the project was initiated, the classdivided into teams of 3-4 students, and each team was assigned one of the project subsystems(thermostat, thermoelectric cooler, accelerometer, power supply). Throughout the semester, thegroups worked on their subsystems by completing tasks related to background research, design,ordering parts, assembly, and testing. While each group worked independently, significant inter-group communication was required since each subsystem was dependent upon the others tocreate the final integrated device, which was a thermostat controlled container for keeping thePOCT device and reagents within their specified operating ranges.In order to assess the impact of the new learning module on student interest and attitudes towardthe POCT field, a set of pre- and post-course surveys was developed and administered. Thesurveys used 5-choice Likert questions, which were analyzed using a one-tailed, paired t-testwith a significance level of 0.05. The results from the surveys (Fig. 1) showed increased student-reported knowledge regarding POCT (p=4.15x10-5), confidence in their ability to develop POCTdevices (p=3.24x10-6), level of interest in pursuing further studies/training in the area of POCT(p=0.0027), likelihood in pursuing a career in the area of POCT (p=0.0064), and suitability ofPOCT devices for solving problems in medicine and biology (p=0.0135).Due to the success of the new learning module, which was implemented for the first time in Fall2012, it is expected that subsequent course offerings will maintain the team-based design projectapproach for introducing POCT to students. Additionally, the project topic may be modified tooffer training in different aspects of POCT device development.References[1] C.M. Curtis, R.F. Louie, J.H. Vy, W.J. Ferguson, M. Lam, A.-T. Truong, M.J. Rust, and G.J. Kost, “Innovations in point-of-care testing for enhanced United States disaster caches,” American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 181-204, Summer 2013.[2] W. Karlen, Ed., Mobile Point-of-Care Monitors and Diagnostic Device Design, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015. 5.0 Student Responses (0-4 Likert Scale) * * * 4.0 * * 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 1Figure 1. Results from student surveys (Likert scale 0-4) comparing responses on pre-course(left) and post-course (right) surveys regarding POCT: (a) student level of knowledge; (b),student confidence in their ability to develop devices; (c) student level of interest in pursuingfurther studies/training; (d) student likelihood in pursuing a career in this area; (e) student ratingof the suitability of POCT devices for solving problems in medicine and biology.

Rust, M. J. (2015, June), A Learning Module Involving Point-of-Care Testing and Team-Based Design Implemented in an Upper-level Biomedical Engineering Elective Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23402

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