June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.361.1 - 14.361.15
Considering Mathematical Approach and Course Content Structure When Teaching Physiology to Biomedical Engineers
Although a core content area in the curriculum, physiology is presented to undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) students in many ways. Even as a standalone course, the mathematical approach and the way the content is structured vary greatly between programs. How physiology is taught can affect how students learn subsequent topics in advanced engineering courses. An engineering standpoint suggests that physiology courses structured around key concepts taught with a quantitative slant will best prepare undergraduate BME students. The aim of our research is experimentally evaluating this conjecture. Physiology content prerequisite for a biofluids challenge lesson is presented to study participants using four different approaches: quantitative, concepts-based; quantitative, systems-based; qualitative, concepts-based; or qualitative, systems-based. After completing the physiology training, study participants engage in independent and collaborative learning via online challenge learning experiences where adaptive expertise in physiology is assessed. This paper focuses on the development of the physiology training modules and the biofluids challenge module used as a data collection environment to assess levels of adaptive expertise in physiology.
Physiology is a core topic in undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) programs. It is a key subject for students whether their intention is to practice medicine, work in industry or do biomedical research. BME programs utilize different strategies to satisfy ABET accreditation criteria related to physiology. A 2008 review of accredited programs shows that 49% require a standalone physiology course offered by the BME department, while 41% utilize life science departments to teach physiology to their engineering students. One program requires students take physiology courses from both biomedical engineering and biology departments. Eight percent of undergraduate BME programs do not require a specific course in physiology at all. Of those that do, the number of credit hours ranges from three to twelve (Figure 1)1.
The ABET criteria require that biomedical engineering program graduates have the capability to understand biology and physiology and apply advanced mathematics, engineering and science to solve problems where engineering and biology interface2. Meeting this criterion typically requires a physiology sub-curriculum in BME programs. Enhancing the physiology sub- curriculum also benefits students in other engineering disciplines. The Engineer of 2020 in any discipline will require a basic knowledge of physiological and biological systems as technology and life sciences continue to converge3.
Nelson, R., & Chesler, N. (2009, June), Considering The Mathematical Approach And Course Content Structure When Teaching Physiology To Biomedical Engineers Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5312
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