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Board 18: Work in Progress: Developing Assignments to Reinforce Process Knowledge for a Medical Equipment Troubleshooting Laboratory Course

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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


Renata Fortuna Ramos Rice University

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Renata Ramos is an Associate Teaching Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005:

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Kathryn Kundrod Rice University

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Kathryn Kundrod is pursuing her PhD with Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum at Rice University. She works toward the development of low-cost HPV tests for cervical cancer screening.

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Developing Assignments to Reinforce Process-Knowledge for a Medical Equipment Troubleshooting Laboratory Course

Troubleshooting of clinically relevant devices is a laboratory course offered to senior Bioengineering students. The course introduces operational principles, common failure modes, troubleshooting methods to repair non-functioning devices, and preventive maintenance while focusing on six types of clinically relevant devices: centrifuges, refrigerators, suction pumps, syringe pumps, compound light microscopes, and oxygen concentrators. The goals of this lab are to (1) improve the students’ biomedical instrumentation skills and (2) provide the students with the techniques and strategies necessary to apply a structured, logical troubleshooting process. The process of troubleshooting is introduced during the first class and is reinforced throughout the laboratory activities as the various medical devices are introduced.

The lab uses flipped-classroom methods to cover the operational principles of the devices and employs hands-on, small group activities during lab time to investigate normal operation on functional devices and to troubleshoot and repair broken devices. Typical assignments include: • pre-labs assignment: due at the beginning of each lab; covers technical background on the devices. • in-class quiz: taken at the end of each lab; covers technical background and troubleshooting skills for each of the devices. • laboratory team report: due a week after each lab; covers troubleshooting skills and requires students to synthesize the knowledge gained in order to apply it to new concepts.

This research study seeks to investigate the effect of modifying pre-lab assignments from technical content-based to process-based in order to help students develop an understanding and an ability to practice and apply the troubleshooting process, instead of developing content knowledge that focuses on testing and repairing specific medical equipment. A focus on the process is also intended to increase students’ understanding of the relevance and context of the course.

Pre-lab assignments will be modified in one of the two sections offered to include different aspects of the troubleshooting process as it applies to the devices covered in the lab. Control (students completing standard pre-lab assignments) and experimental (students completing the modified pre-lab assignments) groups will be compared in terms of their (a) laboratory team report grades, (b) end of semester quiz focusing on troubleshooting clinically-relevant equipment not covered in the lab, and (c) a qualitative survey to assess how each course assignment contributes to the process-knowledge gained in the lab.

Ramos, R. F., & Kundrod, K. (2018, June), Board 18: Work in Progress: Developing Assignments to Reinforce Process Knowledge for a Medical Equipment Troubleshooting Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29976

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