San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.521.1 - 25.521.14
Emphasizing Core Calculus Concepts Using Biomedical Applications to Engage, Mentor and Retain STEM StudentsWith an increasing demand for biomedical and bioengineering professionals in the comingdecades, educators are tasked with readying a greater number of STEM students who are able toapply mathematical concepts to critical health care decisions. In this work, we have developed aseries of for-credit, applied learning modules that are being given in parallel to the freshman andsophomore calculus curriculum. These modules use creative inquiry and applied learningexperiences to connect mathematical concepts with bioengineering and medical applications. Wehypothesize that exposure and participation in the applied learning experiences outside ofstandard mathematics classes, will improve the students’ performance and perceivedappreciation for their math curriculum.The four modules series will be offered over a 2 year period to groups of up to 25 students, andemphasize mathematics and statistics relevant to four biomedical research areas 1) orthopaedics,2) infectious diseases, 3) heat propagation in the human body, 3) mammography and radiology.In class activities are complimented with biomedical facility field trips, greater access toprofessors and tutors outside of class, and audio-video tutorials. In this paper, the methods andresults of module one (orthopaedics, which is currently underway with 3 students participating)will be presented. Assessment of project outcomes will consist of a formative and summativeevaluation. Pre and post surveys, follow-up surveys, and exit interviews are being used to assessthe student’s satisfaction with the modules, usefulness of the field-trips, and to gage studentunderstanding of uses of mathematics in STEM fields. In addition, student’s performance incurrent and future math courses and retention in STEM majors are being monitored fromparticipation in modules until graduation.This scalable project utilizes a diverse set of faculty from the math and bioengineeringdepartments. The project value to STEM goals are found in, 1) convincing students throughapplied learning experiences that mathematics is an important component of any research planand indispensable to their career success, and (2) insuring that these students do not falter incalculus and abandon their STEM goals. Outreach modules for K-12 are being developed as partof student participation. The project team will disseminate all teaching materials, assessmentresults, and improvements via a project website. This paper will present our developed methodsand initial findings with the hopes of inspiring other institutions to adopt similar applied learningexperiences for their STEM students.Figure 1: A flowchart of activities and outcomes that are linked to the applied learning modules for 2 year program.
DesJardins, J. D., & Breazel, E., & Reba, M., & Viktorova, I., & Matheny, J. B., & Khan, T. R. (2012, June), Emphasizing Core Calculus Concepts Using Biomedical Applications to Engage, Mentor, and Retain STEM Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21279
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