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Computer Applications In Bioengineering: An Active Learning Laboratory Course For Undergraduates

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.111.1 - 1.111.3



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Daryl R. Kipke

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2309

Computer Applications in Bioengineering: An Active-Learning Laboratory Course for Undergraduates

Daryl R. Kipke Arizona State University

Introduction Bioengineering is a diverse field that bridges several traditional engineering disciplines to medicine and biology. In competing for bioengineering-related jobs with peers from traditional engineering disciplines, the B.S.-level bioengineer should have particular knowledge and experience about making measurements from or analyzing physiological and biological systems. It is challenging to devise an undergraduate bioengineering curriculum that provides an appropriate broad coverage of the field and that also provides sufficient in-depth, practical coverage of at least one bioengineering sub-specialty, such as bioinstrumentation or biomechanics. Lecture-based courses typically provide the theoretical basis of the technical subjects, while laboratory courses provide the opportunity for experiential learning. In bioengineering, laboratory courses are especially important because of the complexities of investigating living systems, e.g. the selection and operation of electrodes, and understanding and implementing techniques for reducing biological noise.

In the undergraduate bioengineering program at Arizona State University, laboratory courses in physiological systems and medical instrumentation have been offered for many years. These courses emphasize making measurements from and analyzing properties of physiological systems using clinical instruments or special-purpose computer hardware and software. The laboratory projects are generally highly structured and closed-ended to ensure ample coverage of the selected subjects. While these courses are an important part of the curriculum, they do not provide students with the experience of developing solutions to open-ended, systems-level bioengineering projects. In order to fill this gap, over the last three years we have developed and offered a laboratory course that provides senior-level bioengineering students with intensive experience in developing and using bioinstrumentation systems to solve scientific and clinical problems. This course, “Computer Applications in Bioengineering,” requires the students to integrate their previous coursework to find workable engineering solutions to complex problems.

The main objective of the course is to provide an experience in which the students gain knowledge, expertise, and confidence in biomedical signal recording and analysis. This knowledge base involves understanding the basic structure of bioengineering instrumentation systems and, more importantly, being able to design, build, test, and use instrumentation systems for a variety of bioengineering applications. This course involves both formal and informal active-learning as the students work in teams on each project.

Course structure and content The course is offered for four credit hours and it has both a laboratory section (six hours per week) and a lecture section (three hours per week). The primary emphasis is on the laboratory projects, with lecture sessions intended to present and discuss technical topics that arise during work on the projects. The lecture sessions also provide a forum for discussing difficulties that teams may be experiencing, solutions developed by other teams, and the results of data analyses. In the lecture sessions, the instructor serves more as a manager and technical adviser to the teams rather than as an expert whom provides the “right” answers. The lecture classroom is

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Kipke, D. R. (1996, June), Computer Applications In Bioengineering: An Active Learning Laboratory Course For Undergraduates Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5925

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