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Gait Module For Freshman Level Introductory Course In Biomedical Engineering

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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

BME Introductory Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.655.1 - 10.655.4

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Paper Authors

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Amy Curry

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Eugene Eckstein

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

Gait Module for Freshman-Level Introductory Course in Biomedical Engineering

Amy L. de Jongh Curry, Eugene C. Eckstein

Biomedical Engineering, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN


In an effort to improve educational methodologies in biomedical engineering, the Vanderbilt- Northwestern-Texas-Harvard/MIT Engineering Research Center (VaNTH ERC) is conducting research in challenge-based methods of teaching. We have recently partnered with the VaNTH ERC to test the challenge-based approach in an urban university setting. The rationale for using a challenged-based instructional method is based on the learning science theory presented by Bransford et al.1 on “How People Learn” (HPL). HPL theory states that learners achieve greater understanding when they are taught in learner-centered, assessment-centered, community- centered, as well as knowledge-centered environments. When all of these environments are used in the instructional scheme, the learner is more engaged and motivated.1 The challenge-based instructional module is delivered within the framework of the STAR-legacy cycle,2 an action/reflection learning cycle. Challenge-based teaching is complementary to problem-based teaching; however, in challenge-based teaching the students have not been educated on all of the required skills/knowledge to complete the challenge at the time of assignment. The challenge involves leading the students to understand what skills and knowledge they must master and integrate to complete the challenge.

We have developed a challenge-based instructional module on gait motions and elementary biomechanics for our first-year engineering course co-listed in biomedical and mechanical engineering to target skills in manipulating, graphing, and interpreting empirical, time-varying data. Our motivation for this module is that freshmen often arrive without adequate experience in simple graphing techniques and unfamiliarity with basic data representations. In addition, the students have a wide variety of educational backgrounds in mathematics, where some students are enrolled in third semester Calculus and some in College Algebra.

Gait Module

The learning objectives for this module are to (1) practice problem solving techniques, (2) realize the value of team work and creativity, (3) implement graphing techniques, and (4) use data analysis and statistics to solve engineering problems (open-ended problems). The overall challenge requires the students to show how gait is described and captured in numerical and graphical ways that apply to engineered products. Specifically, the students use available gait measurements such as stride intervals to suggest useful descriptions of walking for

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Curry, A., & Eckstein, E. (2005, June), Gait Module For Freshman Level Introductory Course In Biomedical Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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