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Development of Experiential Learning Models in Biomedical Engineering Programs for International Implementation

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2014 ASEE International Forum


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 14, 2014

Start Date

June 14, 2014

End Date

June 14, 2014

Conference Session

Track 1 - Session 2

Tagged Topic

Curriculum and Lab Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

20.12.1 - 20.12.11



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Paper Authors


Shankar Muthu Krishnan Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Dr. Shankar Krishnan is the founding chair of the Biomedical Engineering program and an endowed chair professor at Wentworth Institute in Boston since 2008. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Rhode Island with research work done at Rhode Island Hospital. Previously, he was an assistant director at Massachusetts General Hospital (a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School) in Boston. He has also held faculty appointments in Illinois, Miami and Singapore. At NTU in Singapore, he was the founding director of the BME Research Center and the founding head of the Bioengineering division. He was the Principal Investigator for several Biomedical Engineering projects. He also worked in R&D at Coulter Electronics in Miami and in hospital design and operations management at Bechtel for healthcare megaprojects. He has served in the National Medical Research Council in Singapore. His research interests are biomedical signals and image processing, telemedicine, medical robotics and BME education. Dr. Krishnan has co-edited the text “Advances in Cardiac Signal Processing”, and published numerous papers in conference proceedings, journal papers and book chapters. He has been developing novel models in BME curriculum design, labs, interdisciplinary project-based learning, co-ops, internships and undergraduate research. Recently he served on the NSF Advisory Committee on Virtual Communities of Practice. He keeps active memberships in AAMI, ASEE, ASME, BMES, IEEE, BMES, IFMBE, and ASME. He was selected to join Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and the American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was elected as a Fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and he was a member of a team which received the CIMIT Kennedy Innovation Award in Boston.

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Development of Experiential Learning Models in Biomedical Engineering Programs for International ImplementationUndergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) programs have increased considerably across theglobe and the drives for continuous improvement of the programs persist. Covering acomprehensive base of multiple disciplines supplemented by specialized courses required forBME studies on campus has been a big challenge. In addition, the members of the IndustryProfessional Advisory Committees usually recommend incorporating experiential learningmodules of co-op or internship in the curriculum. The underlying notion is that integratingcooperative modules with formal on-campus academic training provides the students exposure toprofessional experience which leads to formation a superior educational model especially inBME programs. The main objective of the present work is to develop a few cooperativeexperiential learning models for selective international implementation.In order to earn a baccalaureate degree in BME, students are required to take a multitude ofcourses in basic sciences and engineering disciplines prior to taking courses in BME. Embeddingcooperative modules within the undergraduate BME educational program is aimed to assiststudents in gaining exposure to different aspects of the complex work processes in the BME fieldand providing highly valuable real-life experience. However, the developers of the BMEcurricula find the inclusion of cooperative work experience or internship with a heavy courseload in the program a formidable challenge. The overall program objectives place a very severeconstraint on the available and assignable time for practical work experience training since thetrend is to diligently manage the total number of academic credits within reasonable limits. Inthis paper, designs of a few co-op/internship models embedded in the undergraduate BMEcurriculum are described. A cooperative experiential learning model suitable for biomedicalengineering students at a large teaching hospital is illustrated in progressive phases. Othermodels of BME co-op developed are of different time durations at companies dealing withmedical devices and systems or at academic research laboratories with ongoing R&D activities.The proposed models have been implemented in different countries and the results obtainedclearly support the proposed scheme of including co-op/internship in BME curriculum. Theoutcomes of the BME co-operative work enabled the students to have a comprehensive learningof multifaceted activities in the BME field. It is realized that varied curricula for education andpractical training may exist in the international settings. However, the model and the detailspresented are applicable to BME programs at the international level. It is recommended that newprograms consider incorporating co-op/internship training as a mandatory requirement.In conclusion, integrating the cooperative work experience is of significant value in biomedicalengineering education by giving opportunities for real-life work experience to students. Forsustained success, it is essential that a suitable model must be selected to blend with the missionof the overall training program at the academic institution.

Krishnan, S. M. (2014, June), Development of Experiential Learning Models in Biomedical Engineering Programs for International Implementation Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17175

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