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Freshman Design Course: Device Design for Low-Resource Settings

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First- and Second-year Design and Professional Development in BME

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Emma K. Frow Arizona State University

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Emma Frow is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, with a joint appointment in the School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. She has graduate training in both the natural and social sciences, with a PhD in biochemistry and an MSc in science & technology studies. Emma is interested in the engineering imagination, particularly in the emerging field of synthetic biology. Over the past 7 years, her curricular and extracurricular teaching with engineers and scientists has been geared towards encouraging them to think about the broader social, ethical and political dimensions of their research and training.

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Barbara S. Smith Arizona State University

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Barbara S. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Dr. Smith has 14 years of educational and professional experiences as an engineer, having worked in various engineering fields with diverse populations for over a decade. Her research expertise includes: point-of-care diagnostics, tissue engineering, and nanotechnology. Dr. Smith gained expertise during her postdoctoral research training under the mentorship of Dr. George M. Whitesides at Harvard University, where she worked on concept to product translation – collaborating with industry affiliates and working on product translation with partners in India. Dr. Smith’s lab develops non-invasive methods of diagnostics, in real-time, including specialized imaging modalities and olfactory biomarker identification. As an independent researcher, she implements experimental approaches to real world problems, in collaboration with clinicians and industry affiliates, to develop and effectively translate useful technology. Dr. Smith’s innovative approach is aimed towards driving (inter)national exposure and product translation; connecting ASU students to relevant problems that exist throughout the far-reaching areas of the world.

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Casey Jane Ankeny Arizona State University

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Casey J. Ankeny, PhD is lecturer in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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The biomedical engineering (BME) program at Arizona State University includes a 14-week freshman hands-on design experience addressing global health needs. Core objectives of this course include (i) introducing students to key concepts and processes in biomedical device design and development, (ii) providing an early freshman experience of team-based learning, and (iii) encouraging the development of communication and presentation skills. Additional teaching goals include priming students for subsequent ‘design spine’ courses and their final-year BME capstone experience, and developing interactive project-based teaching at scale.

Our semester-long course focuses on global healthcare markets and device design for low-resource settings. Over 14 weeks, students work in teams of 4-5 to run through a cycle of biomedical device design, including needs assessment, problem definition, concept generation and iteration, CAD prototyping, and design iteration based on peer, student instructor, and faculty feedback. They also examine case studies of (successful and unsuccessful) biomedical device design, learn about the healthcare innovation system, and reflect on key challenges and best practices for successful biomedical engineering design. With class sizes of 60-100 students, scale is a key factor in course design and implementation. During 2.5-hour lab sessions, our instructor approach is to engage with each student team for at least 5-10 min per class, providing real-time feedback on their research and design practices. Trained graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants are also on hand to work with teams and encourage critical engagement with the design process.

This is our second year of piloting this large-scale, project-based course, and thus far assessment of learning outcomes has relied on both formal and informal methods. Weekly instructor engagement with individual teams provides informal, real-time indications of how well students are mastering project management and core design tasks. During the semester, students complete muddiest points exercises, and perform self-evaluations of their ability to work as a team. End-of-semester written reflections in response to a series of prompts have helped us to capture the key points students are taking away from the course, as well as their self-identification of how well they are mastering different aspects of the design process. In this paper, we present an overview of the course structure, together with a summary of assessment data, lessons learned, and best practice tips for designing introductory design courses for large class sizes.

Frow, E. K., & Smith, B. S., & Ankeny, C. J. (2017, June), Freshman Design Course: Device Design for Low-Resource Settings Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28387

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