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Active and Cooperative Learning Activities for an Introductory Biomaterials Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

BME Courses and Learning Activities

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.135.1 - 22.135.16



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University

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Jennifer Vernengo is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2007. She began work as a materials scientist at Synthes Biomaterials, then joined Drexel University College of Medicine as postdoc in 2009. Jennifer two published research papers and one patent in the area of injectable biomaterials for orthopedic tissue replacement and repair. She is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to biomedical engineering education.

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Active and Cooperative Learning Activities for An Introductory Biomaterials CourseThis paper presents a Rowan University initiative to incorporate biomaterials education into itscurriculum. Biomaterials is a relatively new interdisciplinary field within ChemicalEngineering. Because of the increasing prevalence of muscoskeletal, cardiovascular, andneurodegenerative diseases, there is a necessity to engineer biomaterials that can be used to treatthese painful and debilitating disorders. The overall objective of this initiative is to teach ourstudents concepts in research, development, and clinical application of biomaterials. Recently,educators have been developing active and cooperative learning activities within the frameworkof pedagogical theories such as the Felder-Soloman Learning Styles, the Kolb ExperientialLearning Cycle, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. We used a similar approach to the development ofeducational activities within the area of biomaterials. In this paper, we describe this active andcooperative approach to biomaterials education, which can be adapted by other institutions andfor a range of class sizes. Reverse engineering of biomedical devices, case studies on materialsin medicine, and a laboratory activity in hydrogel characterization are described. Each activitypossesses elements which appeal to a range of learning styles described by Felder and Soloman,incorporates the four phases of learning described by Kolb, and utilizes the higher levels ofBloom’s Taxonomy. By utilizing this approach to developing these activities, we aim topromote more efficient learning than a traditional, straight lecturing approach. A summary ofour student evaluations provides evidence of the effectiveness of these classroom activities. 

Vernengo, J. (2011, June), Active and Cooperative Learning Activities for an Introductory Biomaterials Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17416

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