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Board 14: Work in Progress: #FunTimesWithTheTA - A Series of Fun Supplementary Lessons for Introductory Level Biomedical Instrumentation Students (Part II)

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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


Orlando Sanguinette Hoilett Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Orlando is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. Orlando graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. His academic interests involve developing wearable sensors for mobile health platforms and developing engaging engineering design activities for undergraduate students. He has several years of experience with analog circuit design and embedded systems. His previous work includes developing an impedance analyzer for a microfluidic blood-brain barrier model. On the education side, he has developed a number of lab activities for first year and junior level Biomedical Engineering students. Aside from his academic pursuits, he is an avid electronics hobbyist and tinkerer. He spends most of his free time developing open source hardware for students, educators, and makers alike.

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Asem Farooq Aboelzahab Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Asem Aboelzahab is the Lab and Assessment Coordinator in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. He has been at Purdue since 2014. He instructs/coordinates undergraduate labs including Bioinstrumentation, Biotransport, and Capstone Senior Design. He also serves as the school's ABET coordinator. Asem received his BS and MS degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.

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Erica A. Lott Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Dr. Erica Lott is an Instructional Developer at the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. She earned her Ph.D in College Science Teaching specializing in Earth Sciences from Syracuse University. Her research interests include, but are not limited to: learners' understanding and representation of physical phenomena, course transformations and their implications for teaching and learning, discourse analysis of scientific classroom talk, and science teacher education.

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Jacqueline Callihan Linnes Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jacqueline Callihan Linnes is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. She earned her Ph.D. in Bioengineering and certificate in Global Health from the University of Washington. She was a Fogarty engineering fellow in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Little Devices laboratory at MIT before moving to Boston University’s Biomedical Engineering department where she received a NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship to develop molecular diagnostics for point-of-care pathogen detection. Dr. Linnes's current research bridges innovations in basic science and translational diagnostic techniques in order to develop non-invasive, rapid detection technologies that efficiently diagnose and monitor diseases at the point of care. Her teaching focuses experiential learning and co-creation of technologies via user-centered design and evaluation.

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#FunTimesWithTheTA is a series of low-risk, low-stress, supplementary, active-learning lessons developed for introductory biomedical instrumentation students. The purpose of the lessons is to reinforce the principles taught in the normally scheduled course as well as to introduce students to new design concepts that are applicable to them as budding circuit designers and engineers. Under the rigor of the engineering curriculum, students often lose sight of the practical benefits of the engineering principles taught in their normal coursework. We hope that by providing students with these opportunities, students will be encouraged in their coursework as well as learn a few new concepts that are not covered in the normal curriculum. As a result, students can develop strong autodidactic learning skills that they can apply throughout their careers.

We have previously reported on our pilot study in an earlier publication[1]. In short, the lessons take place during the latter half of the normally scheduled office hours. Students self-select into groups in order to complete different parts of the circuit design. The students then combine their individual subcomponents in order to create the complete circuit. Attendance is completely voluntary and has no impact on student grades. The lessons are developed by the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and are complete with step-by-step instructions for constructing the circuits. Additionally, the lessons highlight key concepts that are taught in the normal course, such as filter design and operational amplifiers, in order to reinforce the core principles taught in class.

In this current report, we will assess the effect of #FunTimesWithTheTA on student learning by way of student surveys. The surveys will ask students to reflect on their experience with the supplementary lessons and compare elements of this experience to the environment of the normally scheduled course. The survey is designed around the basic psychological needs of the students, namely perceptions of autonomy and competency, and has 5 main tenets: 1. Is it fun? 2. Does it relate back to the course? 3. Does it explore concepts outside of the course? 4. Is it low-risk and low-stress? 5. Does it provide autonomy and feelings of increased competence?

We have included a few sample questions below:

Sample Q1: This course has given me more freedom to explore new circuit configurations/designs Sample Q2: #FunTimesWithTheTA has given me more freedom to explore new circuit configurations/designs

From preliminary data, we have observed a stark increase in student attendance compared to the previous year and we expect that the benefit of these lessons will be in filling knowledge gaps and building student confidence in circuit design skills. As the survey data is analyzed upon the completion of the remaining sessions, we will be able to more accurately assess the objectives as they relate to student outcomes.

[1] O. S. Hoilett, A. F. Aboelzahab, E. A. Layow, J. C. Linnes, and C. H. Lee, “Board # 8 :#FunTimesWithTheTA—A Series of Fun Supplementary Lessons for Introductory Level Biomedical Instrumentation Students (Work in Progress),” presented at the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, 2017.

Hoilett, O. S., & Aboelzahab, A. F., & Lott, E. A., & Linnes, J. C. (2018, June), Board 14: Work in Progress: #FunTimesWithTheTA - A Series of Fun Supplementary Lessons for Introductory Level Biomedical Instrumentation Students (Part II) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29940

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