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Cross Disciplinary Approach To Developing Challenge Based Instruction

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Learning and Teaching Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.348.1 - 8.348.14



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Paper Authors

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Matthew Parsek

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Chris Riesbeck

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Gulnur Birol

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Ann McKenna

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

Session 2531

Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Developing Challenge-Based Instruction

Ann McKenna, Matthew Parsek, Gülnur Birol, and Christopher Riesbeck

Northwestern University

Abstract This paper describes our cross-disciplinary collaboration to design and implement educational materials in the domain of biotechnology. We designed our course activities to follow a challenged-based model of learning and constructed our learning environment to align with current theories of how people learn. The nature of our work was cross-disciplinary since it involved applying educational principles to a complex engineering domain. In this sense engineering faculty worked closely with education faculty to create enhanced learning materials for biomedical engineering education. We describe the process we followed to develop these materials and highlight several components that led to the success of our collaborative effort. In addition we describe our course materials, the reformed learning environment, and present student feedback from the initial implementation.

Introduction The current work was undertaken as part of the VaNTH (Vanderbilt, Northwestern, University of Texas, and Harvard/MIT) Engineering Research Center 1. One goal of VaNTH is to reform undergraduate engineering courses such that they embed the subject matter in a practical context, foster the development of practical skills such as oral and written communication and teamwork, as well as teach the underlying scientific principles. Learning and instructional theories explain that providing real-life contexts increases students’ interest, provides opportunities for students to apply their knowledge, and prepares students for situations they will encounter after graduation2, 3. In addition, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) has compelled engineering schools to re-examine their curricula and to make appropriate changes to align learning outcomes with the new criteria 4.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Parsek, M., & Riesbeck, C., & Birol, G., & McKenna, A. (2003, June), Cross Disciplinary Approach To Developing Challenge Based Instruction Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11719

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