Asee peer logo

Creating New Labs for an Existing Required Biomedical Engineering Imaging Course

Download Paper |


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

Hands-On Skills in BME

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Elizabeth Kathleen Bucholz Duke University

visit author page

Dr. Bucholz is an Assistant Professor of the Practice for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and has served as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering for the past four years. She has been teaching for the department for 7 years, and graduated from Duke University with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2008 from the Center for In Vivo Microscopy under the guidance of Dr. G. Allan Johnson. Dr. Bucholz teaches 4 classes a year including BME 271: Signals and Systems, BME 303: Modern Diagnostic Imaging Systems, BME 590: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and BME 790L: Signal Processing and Applied Mathematics.

visit author page

author page

Matthew Brown Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, department of Biomedical Engineering

Download Paper |


In an effort to increase hands on learning in the biomedical engineering curriculum, laboratory components have been added to many core courses at XXXX University. One such course is BME XXX: Modern Diagnostic Imaging Systems. Taught for (junior and/or senior) students, this course has an enrollment of 70-80 students each year. The learning objectives of the laboratory modules were to 1) give students a sense of how the equipment works in a real life setting; 2) incorporate elements of creativity and design; 3) improve student performance; 4) increase student interest in the subject material; and 5) give the students the opportunity to learn tangible skills that are applicable in the industry.

Throughout the course of the semester, the students experienced a combination of design challenges, lab experiences, and clinical experiences based on the section of the course they were completing. The course had 6 sections, 5 of which had laboratories/experiences associated with them. For the first experience, students developed and printed a 3D imaging phantom to use in all subsequent imaging modalities. This required students to familiarize themselves with Fusion360 and the 3D printers, which satisfied both learning objectives 1 and 5. During the Xray section of the course, the students brought their phantoms to a research imaging facility where they were able to create Xray images and CT images of their phantoms. For the CT portion of the course, students used visible light and simple backprojection to reconstruct a wooden block. For the ultrasound unit, students arrived in the lab to their phantoms obscured by milk and had to use the ultrasound images to identify which phantom was which. For the MRI unit, students traveled to a clinically operating 3T magnet at XXXX hospital and watched while their phantoms were scanned. As an extra credit assignment, students were asked to identify which phantoms had been scanned.

The same final exam was administered at the end of the course during semesters with and without the laboratory component. Note that the lecture content of the courses did not change. For the spring 2016 class with no laboratory component, the final exam score was 78.1+/- 11.8 (mean +/- stdev). For the spring 2017 class, the final exam score was 84.6+/-8.3 (mean +/- stdev). Using a t-test, there was a statistically significant difference found (P<.003). Incorporating these hand-on design and image evaluation activities into the class significantly improved student mastery of the course content. As described, the laboratory modules also met the other learning outcomes for the laboratory.

Bucholz, E. K., & Brown, M. (2018, June), Creating New Labs for an Existing Required Biomedical Engineering Imaging Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30236

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015