Asee peer logo

Developing Undergraduate Students’ Design Skills Using On Line Video Modules And Active Learning Exercises

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Potpourri

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.460.1 - 14.460.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Katie Cadwell University of Wisconsin, Madison

author page

Greta Zenner University of Wisconsin, Madison

author page

Naomi Chesler University of Wisconsin, Madison

author page

Wendy Crone University of Wisconsin, Madison

Download Paper |

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

Teaching Undergraduate Engineering Students Auxiliary Design Skills via Online Video Modules and Active Learning Exercises


Biomedical Engineering undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison participate in six semesters of engineering design. In addition to engineering design aptitude, successful designers require proficiency in an auxiliary set of skills related to the design process. We have created professional development training materials on topics associated with auxiliary design skills for students within this design course series. Topics include working in teams, interacting with clients, presentation skills, design ethics and regulations, and global design. The training materials consist of an online video archive of experts speaking on such topics and associated active learning exercises. Using online, pre-recorded expert lectures makes class time available for conducting the active learning exercises, including working on design projects. The training content is modular, allowing small or large portions to be incorporated in a range of design courses. The impact on student learning related to these topics was evaluated during the 2008- 2009 academic year through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods.

Introduction and Background

In 2005, a new course for undergraduates, “Introduction to Engineering Research,” was created as the first one-credit course in a research sequence at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW). Subsequently, supplemental materials were created to enhance this course and make these resources widely available to other faculty and programs with similar goals for undergraduate students. These supplemental materials were then refined into a collection of learning objects, taking the form of short presentations by experts (videos/audio/slides), readings, and in-class active learning activities. Currently, the collection consists of twenty-five video presentations with an average video/audio length of 14 minutes, twenty-four associated readings, and fourteen lesson plans that have been incorporated into the “Introduction to Engineering Research” course and an optional evening seminar series.1 Evaluation of these offerings suggested that undergraduate students found them to be interesting, informative, and useful towards their development as researchers.2 One of the key objectives in the initial effort was to provide opportunities for active learning with the use of the learning objects that enhance student engagement in a classroom or seminar environment which might otherwise rely upon lecture alone.3-4

Given that there are a number of additional topics that are critical for the practice of engineering design we embarked on a collaboration to develop a similar set of modular, on-demand learning objects focused on auxiliary skills needed in engineering design in general and biomedical engineering design in particular. We selected the UW Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department as a test case for our approach because of the rich design “backbone” that is at the center of its curriculum. Students in the UW BME program are required to complete a six- semester design course series, such that they take a design course every semester they are in the program (sophomore through senior years).5,6 Students work in 4-person teams and each team works on a different project. All the projects are client-based, real-world design problems,

Cadwell, K., & Zenner, G., & Chesler, N., & Crone, W. (2009, June), Developing Undergraduate Students’ Design Skills Using On Line Video Modules And Active Learning Exercises Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4812

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: © 2009 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