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Impact of a Sophomore BME Design Fundamentals Course on Student Outcome Performance and Professional Development

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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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Christa M Wille University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Christa Wille is a Biomedical Engineering doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and went on to get her clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She advanced her clinical skills through a Sports Physical Therapy Residency at UW Health. Although continuing to practice Physical Therapy, Christa has returned to academia to continue to pursue research focused on gait analysis and the biomechanics of running related to various injuries including hamstring strains and injuries of the knee.

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Dalton James Hess

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Jake Mitchell Levin University of Wisconsin-Madison


Amit Janardhan Nimunkar University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Amit J Nimunkar received his B.E. in Electronics Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India in 1999, M.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio in 2000 and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin in 2009. He is currently the Associate Faculty Associate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching specialty is on the topic of Biomedical Engineering Design and Bioinstrumentation and has taken initiative to develop hands-on blended learning based courses on the same topics. His research interest is on global health and engineering and had worked on projects in Honduras, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. He has received the Recognition Award for Achievement in Global Engaged Scholarship in 2013 through the Wisconsin Without Borders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Professor of the Year Award in 2012, through the Biomedical Engineering Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a number of teaching awards.

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John P. Puccinelli University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Dr. Puccinelli is the Associate Chair of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He began here as student near the start of the UW-BME program and earned his BS, MS, and PhD in BME. He is interested in hands-on instruction – teaching and developing courses related to biomaterials and tissue engineering, as well as design. He has been awarded numerous departmental and college level teaching awards. He was recently inducted as a fellow to the UW-Madison Teaching Academy.

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Biomedical Engineering (BME) students at our University participate in a unique design curriculum consisting of team-based design courses for seven semesters. Starting freshman year where students work in interdisciplinary teams to solve community-based design challenges to sophomore through senior year where they design, build and test their innovative solutions for clients in the healthcare profession, local industry, community and university. Within our design curriculum sophomores work on teams with juniors forming mentored relationships and seniors participate in outreach as well as prepare their work for publication. Historically, students would develop technical skills as needed based on their project as well as through workshops offered through the department. Through engagement with our advisory board, alumni and our BME Student Advisory Committee (BSAC), it became evident that more formal and direct training on essential engineering tools was needed early in the curriculum. As a result, in 2012, we transformed our required second semester sophomore opened ended design course into a two-credit lecture and laboratory course with a guided design project: BME 201, “Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals and Design.”

Over the last five offerings of BME 201 since 2012, the course has evolved to cohesively combine all three components (lecture, lab, and a design project) into modulus throughout the course that represent the field of BME both from a curricular and industry standpoint. The modules include: electronics, programing (LabVIEW and Arduino), mechanics (SOLIDWORKS, machine shop use and mechanical testing), biomaterials and tissue engineering (literature research, biosafety, aseptic technique, optics and material interactions). To effectively reach the students in the course and update course content, we utilize a three tiered instructional approach: instructors, three teaching assistants, and 20 undergraduate student assistants, all bringing their educational and industry experiences to the course. The student instructors rotate throughout the course depending on their expertise. We have assessed the effectiveness of this course with pre- and post- course surveys showing the influence of the course on their curriculum and career choices and the influence of the peer learning model. Additionally, our department’s Assessment Committee has noted an improvement in student outcome performance of both the sophomore student population as well as our seniors pre- and post- BME 201. Finally, employer surveys have shown that our students are well prepared for industry in a variety of positions.

Wille, C. M., & Hess, D. J., & Levin, J. M., & Nimunkar, A. J., & Puccinelli, J. P. (2017, June), Impact of a Sophomore BME Design Fundamentals Course on Student Outcome Performance and Professional Development Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28457

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