Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
#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. 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.
 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. https://peer.asee.org/29940
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