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Development and Assessment of an Introductory Undergraduate Course in Biophysics

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Tanja Greene Marian University

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Tanja Greene, MSBME, received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 and a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering in 2015, both from the Purdue School of Engineering at Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indiana. During her master studies, she investigated the influence of microenvironments on cell fate processes through the encapsulation of cells within chemically modified, biomimetic hydrogels. After graduating, she continued her research through working in a tissue engineering/ biomaterials laboratory until 2017. She then became an Instructor of Physics and Engineering at Marian University of Indianapolis, Indiana, where she currently teaches Physics I, Physics II, Biophysics, and will soon be developing courses related to biomaterials for the launch of the new ES Witchger School of Engineering at Marian University.

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In the pursuit of deepening ones understanding of physics and its implications on biological functions, Biophysics presents itself as the forerunner in useful courses serving in this capacity. As a modern, interdisciplinary field of science weaving concepts of Physics, Biology, Math, and Chemistry, Biophysics provides the space for novel approaches and discoveries answering the questions of many scientists and engineers. Due to the broad reach of its purposes, Biophysics requires a multidisciplinary education. Students working towards degrees in any science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree can benefit from taking a Biophysics course. In this paper, course design and types of instruction are presented and discussed, as well as student outcomes and feedback for the first iteration of this biophysics course. This course will offer undergraduate students a look into a multitude of techniques, based on physical principles and laws, which are used to explore biological functions. In addition, students will be challenged to improve their understanding of molecular structures in biological contexts and will explore the thermodynamic and kinetic regulation of biological systems as well as the bioenergetics of molecular and environmental interactions. Due to the level of coursework expected, students will have the opportunity to participate in active and passive learning activities, will be given learning assessments utilizing all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and will be assigned a project involving Research as Inquiry. Check points will be built into the course to monitor students’ progress on projects, at which time feedback and guidance will be offered. Upon completion of this course, STEM students will be able to clearly express their scientific thinking in both written and verbal form while successfully connecting concepts across their undergraduate curriculum. Students will be required to sharpen their skills as researchers as they learn how to focus their questions of inquiry and will then present their findings. Through developing an undergraduate course in Biophysics, a roadmap is presented helping STEM students to make necessary connections among their foundational undergraduate education.

Greene, T. (2022, August), Development and Assessment of an Introductory Undergraduate Course in Biophysics Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--40622

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