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Drag The Green Ion An Interactive Online Quantitative Cellular Biology Learning Module

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Bringing Biology into Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.491.1 - 10.491.17



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Paper Authors

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Scott Schaffer

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Jenna Rickus

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Matthew Verleger

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

Session 1190

Drag the Green Ion - An Interactive Online Quantitative Cellular Biology Learning Module Matthew Verleger, Heidi Diefes-Dux, Jenna Rickus, Scott Schaffer Purdue University West Lafayette, IN


The goal of bioengineering education is the marriage of quantitative engineering with traditional descriptive biology. The successful merging of these two disciplines at the undergraduate level has been hampered by the limited availability of appropriate curricular materials and educational resources. Few resources have been developed to aide instructors in teaching and illustrating concepts that lie at the interface of biology and engineering.

The web-based tools currently available to engineering students for learning introductory cellular biology suffer from two major problems. The first is that the majority of engineering students are classified as learning new information most effectively through visual representations such as pictures and animations, yet most current instruction still relies heavily on textual description of phenomenon. The second problem is that many existing web-based tools are passive one-way instructors, showing information, but failing to engage students in higher-level critical thinking. There is no interactive component to the instruction. Many of the available tools that are labeled as interactive still use almost exclusively passive instruction. Due in part to the rapid advancement of technology in recent years, the ability to develop educational units that are both visually stimulating, fully interactive and scientifically accurate is more feasible than ever.

This paper discusses the design, development, and assessment of an online learning module aimed at educating undergraduate engineering students about the quantitative aspects of ion transport in cells.

I. Introduction

Bioengineering includes the study of biological phenomena using the fundamental principles of engineering. Despite the rapid growth of bioengineering as a field of study for undergraduate students, the development of educational materials for bioengineering instructors has failed to keep pace. Until only a few years ago, the subject of bioengineering was predominantly limited to graduate level coursework and research labs. Only in recent years, due in part to the burgeoning of interdisciplinary research and the general increased growth of technology has bioengineering found its way into the undergraduate curriculum. Yet despite the expansion into undergraduate coursework, most instructors are limited to professional journal articles or complex tools aimed at those working in the field. Moreover, because of the scale, complexity, and interdisciplinary nature of the study of most bioengineering phenomena, the development and implementation of hands-on experiments can be challenging at the early undergraduate level.

Schaffer, S., & Diefes-Dux, H., & Rickus, J., & Verleger, M. (2005, June), Drag The Green Ion An Interactive Online Quantitative Cellular Biology Learning Module Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14268

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