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Board 1: Work in Progress: Using Video Tutorials to Assist Biomedical Engineering Students in Learning Solid Modeling Skills

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Biomedical Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Rouzbeh Amini University of Akron Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Amini completed a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota in the field of ocular biomechanics and biotransport in 2010. He then continued his research work on the mechanics of soft tissue as a postdoctoral trainee at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Bioengineering, where he held the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NIH F32). He conducted his postdoctoral research on the biomechanics of cardiac valves. Dr. Amini has served as an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Akron since August 2013. The overall goal of his research laboratory is to improve human health by studying the multi-scale biomechanics and biotransport in cardiovascular, ocular, and digestive systems. Dr. Amini’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Akron Children’s Hospital, Firestone Foundation, and American Heart Association.

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Marnie M. Saunders University of Akron

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Michael Coon


Robert Paul Thoerner University of Akron

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University of Akron, Biomedical Engineering

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Engineering graphics and solid modeling are essential tools for design and manufacturing in the field of biomedical engineering. Over the past decade, advancements in additive manufacturing have made building design prototypes from computer models much easier. In addition, solid models generated in computer-aided design (CAD) programs such as SolidWorks (Dassault Systèmes, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France) are often easily importable to commercial numerical analysis software packages such as finite element and computational fluid dynamics solvers.

Considering the importance of solid modeling skills, we have included a five-week lab module in our freshman course “Tools for Biomedical Engineering”, exclusively for learning SolidWorks. The lab meets twice a week for 100 minutes per session. Every session starts with a 5-10 minute PowerPoint lecture pertaining to fundamental concepts in engineering graphics followed by hands-on tutorials. Students are expected to work independently using the lab computers and are encouraged to ask questions from the instructor and from the teaching assistants if/when they face a problem. The teaching assistants to student ratio in this class has never been less than one to ten and the waiting time for students are short (less than a minute) most of the time.

After four years of teaching this course, student evaluations and anonymous surveys have shown that only half of the students are happy with the current style of the class. Among those who believed the class required modification, some suggested that the instructor should demonstrate how to complete the tutorials while troubleshooting students’ problems at every step. Others preferred the instructor’s demonstration of the tutorials in the beginning or at the end of the class. In all cases, watching how each step is performed in SolidWorks seemed to be of interests to these students. Each of the aforementioned approaches, however, may presents problems that could negatively affect other students. A major obstacle is the variable pace that students complete the tutorials. For this reason, some students may not ask questions if they feel that they are slowing down the rest of the class. 

In this semester, we have decided to use video tutorials as an additional learning tool for the students. In these tutorials, every step necessary for completion of the in-class assignments is demonstrated. We have the option of making the tutorials available to students via the course website and we can also monitor how much time every student spends watching them. Since this class is taught to different sections (n = ~40 per section) this semester, we have provided the videos for one group and used another section as the control group. We have identified the role of access to these video tutorials on the students’ final exam performance. All experiments conducted in this study have been given a formal exemption from approval by the Institutional Review Board. We hypothesized that access to video tutorials improves students’ learning outcomes in this course.

Amini, R., & Saunders, M. M., & Coon, M., & Thoerner, R. P. (2018, June), Board 1: Work in Progress: Using Video Tutorials to Assist Biomedical Engineering Students in Learning Solid Modeling Skills Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah.

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