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Exploring an Inquiry-based Learning with Peer-teaching Pedagogy in a Physiological Signals Lab Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Active Learning in BME, Session I

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Jennifer Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Dr. Jennifer Bailey is a Senior Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she has taught since January of 2014. She previously taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Southern Indiana after graduating from Purdue University. Bailey's passion is lab course development and improving student learning through enhancing lab and other hands-on experiences.

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Student attitude and motivation is a key element with respect to learning gains. This is undoubtedly true for lab classes that depend on prescriptive style lab activities. The traditional procedure-driven lab style leaves students with experiences that lack creativity and appreciation for the techniques being performed. Addressing these aspects of the student lab experience will enhance their motivation and attitude towards learning. Continuing from a previously presented Work in Progress, the goal of this pedagogical method is to increase confidence and enthusiasm by having students develop “expertise” through guided exploration (inquiry-based learning) and then teaching their peers how to perform and analyze a specific experiment (peer-teaching). In the semester long Quantitative Physiological Signal Analysis Lab, one of the primary objectives is for Biomedical Engineering students to develop and demonstrate skills related to the measurement and analysis of physiological signals. The last section of the course addresses this objective by means of collecting and analyzing EEG, EMG, EOG, and action potential propagation signals. In this section of the course, the students utilize familiar signal measurement techniques followed by analysis of the signal using either Matlab or Labview. While simply spending one week at a time on each signal as a class is comprehensive, another pedagogical method has been explored. Groups of two or three students were assigned based on a survey of their preference for a physiological signal to measure and analyze. The groups were given general guidelines for data measurement, background information for data analysis, and objectives for the rest of the class to achieve. These groups taught how to collect and analyze data in order to meet the instructor provided objectives. This peer-teaching was in the form of a recorded presentation and written instructions as well as any analysis tools created for data analysis. During the following five weeks, each group measured and analyzed the other physiological signals presented to them by their peers. The primary expected outcome for this pedagogical technique was an improvement in student-perceived learning gains including confidence in their understanding and enthusiasm for learning new material as assessed by an anonymous survey. However, findings from this research-based methods approach covering four offerings of the course indicate that attitude is built from many factors and not all students are comfortable with peer-instruction or the lack of instructor-centered course structure.

Bailey, J. (2018, June), Exploring an Inquiry-based Learning with Peer-teaching Pedagogy in a Physiological Signals Lab Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30483

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