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Developing Student Design And Professional Skills In An Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Communication and Professional Skills in BME

Tagged Division

Biomedical

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

12.499.1 - 12.499.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2700

Download Count

33

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Paper Authors

author page

Donna Ebenstein Bucknell University

author page

Joe Tranquillo

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Daniel Cavanagh

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

Developing Student Design and Professional Skills in an Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

Abstract

Frequently, students’ exposure to biomedical engineering design and professional skills is concentrated in their senior design capstone courses at the end of the curriculum. While common, this approach may lead to instances where students apply these skills for the first time in their projects with little opportunity for continued reinforcement. In addition, some projects may not appropriately address all necessary skill areas. One curricular model that may address these limitations has recently been implemented by our Biomedical Engineering Program. This new model, consisting of a sequence of four courses spanning the junior and senior years, was created to ensure that all students receive repeated exposure to a wide range of skills relevant to the biomedical engineering profession as well as those required for accreditation.

In this sequence, the first and second courses are each half-credit and focus on specific ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ biomedical engineering skills, respectively, that students may find valuable in senior design. The first course, taken in the spring of junior year, is aimed at introducing students to a wide range of ‘soft’ skills including regulatory issues, teamwork, environmental impacts, and formal decision making. Students then take a course in the fall of the senior year that focuses on developing relevant ‘hard’ skills including CAD, machining tools, rapid-prototyping, mammalian cell culture, and statistics-based experimental design. The other two courses of this sequence make up the two-semester senior design capstone experience that follows a traditional project based model. However, in addition to in-depth exposure to the formal engineering design process, students are also required to interact professionally with an external project mentor, complete extensive professional communication assignments, and bring all relevant design and professional skills together to complete their specific project.

Overall, this four course model exposes students to a wide range of soft and hard skills relevant to biomedical engineering. The sequential structure of the courses requires students to transfer knowledge and skills between courses in the sequence and from courses previously taken. The culmination of the sequence in the senior capstone provides students with repeated exposure to, and refinement of, many skill sets. Further, as students are required to decide which skills should be applied to their specific design projects, this course sequence not only introduces students to an array of skills, but also provides opportunities for students to learn to identify the appropriate application of each skill.

Introduction

Frequently, students’ exposure to biomedical engineering design and professional skills is concentrated in their senior design capstone courses at the end of the curriculum.1-4 While common, this approach may lead to instances where students apply these skills for the first time in their projects with little opportunity for continued reinforcement. In addition, some projects may not appropriately address all necessary skill areas. One curricular model that may address these limitations has recently been implemented by our Biomedical Engineering Program. This

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Ebenstein, D., & Tranquillo, J., & Cavanagh, D. (2007, June), Developing Student Design And Professional Skills In An Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2700

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