Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Practical knowledge of topics such as FDA and international regulatory compliance, standards for medical devices, quality control in medical device manufacturing, and healthcare economics, are among the distinguishing skills of many biomedical engineers. Furthermore, industry highly values familiarity with these topics in BME undergraduates. However, it is challenging to instruct students on these inherently dry topics, particularly in the absence of practical applications. Previous approaches toward teaching these topics in our curriculum mainly involved lectures scattered throughout our extended capstone design course series. While the coupling between presentation of these topics and students’ design projects was often successful, student feedback was mixed in response to this approach. Students sometimes reported that presentations covering these topics were not timely (different design projects progress at different paces and address the topics at different points in time), that they were a distraction from the main goal of conducting design work in the laboratory, or that they were simply boring.
We hypothesized that the majority of negative student feedback arose around the issue of students’ inability to experience immediate practical application of the different concepts. In addition, assessment of accreditation outcomes, many of which relate to these topics, was performed inconsistently by different faculty teaching these design courses, leading to some question regarding the validity of the assessment data. To address these issues, during a recent major curriculum revision, a new two-credit course concentrating on professional topics in BME was developed. Topics were chosen and prioritized considering input from the program’s industrial advisory committee and surveys of graduating students. This course comes early in the junior year, before students begin their capstone design sequence at the end of the junior year. Two important features of the course address the student feedback. Firstly, experts from industry and academia were enlisted to deliver the majority of the presentations in the course. They were encouraged to provide examples of real-world experiences as much as possible in their presentations. Secondly, a case study involving a novel medical device idea was described to the class early, and discussion of how most topics would apply to this device was a planned component of most presentations. In addition, the course allows consolidation of some outcome assessments to provide better opportunity for consistent assessment methods. One final benefit of the approach is that it would guarantee that all students were exposed to each topic prior to its relevance in each student’s capstone design project, where it would later be reinforced.
Future data will be collected to determine whether or not student attitudes toward these topics is improved compared to our previous approach, whether outcome assessment is more consistent, and whether student outcome achievement is improved.
LaMack, J. A., & Imas, O., & Fennigkoh, L., & Tritt, C. S., & Dos Santos, I. (2018, June), Board 19: Work in Progress: Spicing Up Instruction of Professional Topics in Biomedical Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29978
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