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A Unique Research Experience In Bioengineering Education For Undergraduates In The Vanth Reu

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Collection

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Unique Student Opportunities in BME

Tagged Division

Biomedical

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

13.128.1 - 13.128.15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3552

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

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Robert Linsenmeier Northwestern University

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Robert A. Linsenmeier has a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering in the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and in Neurobiology and Physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He is the Associate Director of the VaNTH Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies and a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. His research interests are in the role of retinal oxygen transport and metabolism in both normal physiological conditions and disease, and in bioengineering and physiology education.

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Jean Alley Vanderbilt University

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Jean Alley has served as the Education Program Coordinator for VaNTH for 7 years, organizing and directing the REU program and other educational outreach efforts for this Engineering Research Center. She is also currently working with the Vanderbilt branch of the Center for the Integration of Research Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) as a site organizer.

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Penny Hirsch Northwestern University

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Penny L. Hirsch is Associate Director of the Writing Program at Northwestern and a Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Lecturer. A principal in her own communications consulting firm since 1986, she is also the VaNTH project leader for core competency instruction. Hirsch has a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University.

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Stacy Klein-Gardner

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Stacy S. Klein is the Associate Dean for Outreach at the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. She is also a Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Radiological Sciences, and Teaching & Learning. An active mentor in the REU program, she also runs an RET program.

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Julie Greenberg Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Julie E. Greenberg is a Principal Research Scientist and Director of Education and Academic Affairs at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). She received a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering from the HST (1994). Dr. Greenbers interests include signal processing for hearing aids and cochlear implants, as well as research in bioengineering education.

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Mark Bourgeois Northwestern University

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Mark Bourgeois is a PhD student in Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago as well as the Administrator of the Northwestern site of the VaNTH ERC. He teaches ethics in biomedical engineering courses at Northwestern and in the VaNTH summer REU program, as well as a dedicated course in ethics in regulation in the Northwestern School of Continuing Studies graduate program.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Unique Research Experience in Bioengineering Education for Undergraduates in the VaNTH REU

Abstract

Most Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs are designed to provide summer research opportunities in a particular domain of engineering or science. The VaNTH REU has been unique in focusing instead on education research projects in bioengineering. These projects allow students from various fields to gain a different perspective on their education while making the decisions about content and pedagogy that instructors usually make. After an introductory session at Vanderbilt, students spend the next nine weeks working with mentors from Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Texas at Austin. While at these sites, students meet weekly by video- or tele-conference to report on their projects. Work on ethics and communication were integrated into the REU experience. The REU students, who are mostly in engineering, have become engaged in the process and methods of engineering education research and, in many cases, have made substantial contributions to the development and/or classroom evaluation of educational materials. At the same time, they have learned a particular field of bioengineering more deeply. This paper discusses the VaNTH REU program and illustrates the contributions of REU students to successful innovations in bioengineering pedagogy. While it would be difficult to replicate the VaNTH REU program in its entirety, many of its components are transferable and could help students who are considering faculty careers or graduate school in engineering education.

1. Introduction

1.1 The VaNTH ERC The VaNTH Engineering Research Center (ERC) in Bioengineering Educational Technologies was founded in 1999 to do research in learning science, learning technologies, and bioengineering curriculum. A partnership of Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Division of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, VaNTH has investigated many areas of engineering education, with a focus on bioengineering. VaNTH has studied the effectiveness of challenge-based instruction, has contributed to the dialog on the development of students’ adaptive expertise, has studied the development of pedagogical knowledge and novel teaching methods by faculty, has developed and evaluated new learning technologies, and has developed approaches to help bioengineering students communicate more effectively and understand ethical issues related to their field. In the course of this work, VaNTH has produced educational materials for others to use that have the potential to impact all bioengineering and biomedical engineering programs in the country. In addition, since bioengineering integrates engineering and the life sciences, subsets of materials developed in the ERC will also impact education in these fields. Further, some of the materials have been disseminated for middle school and high school students. This paper discusses how a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program engaged undergraduates in this work, benefiting both the students and the VaNTH ERC and argues that similar programs, or even aspects of this program, would be very helpful to students considering faculty careers in engineering or graduate school in engineering education.

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