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Implementation Of Educational Modules In A Biotechnology Course: A Challenge Based Education Approach

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

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Page Numbers

7.632.1 - 7.632.13



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Gulnur Birol

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Todd Giorgio

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Sean Brophy

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Ann McKenna

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Session 2793

Implementation of Educational Modules in a Biotechnology Course: A Challenge Based Education Approach

Gülnur Birol*, Ann McKenna *, Todd Giorgio†, Sean Brophy †

Biomedical Engineering Department, * Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Technological Building, E 310, Evanston, IL 60208 / † Vanderbilt University, Box 351620 B, Nashville, TN 37235


Biotechnology is one of the active domains in the NSF funded Engineering Research Center VaNTH (Vanderbilt, Northwestern, University of Texas, and Harvard/MIT) where an educational mosaic is currently being developed. This mosaic covers a collection of challenges designed around bioreactors, mass/momentum transfer issues, microbial kinetics, and downstream processing, which are among core biotechnology topics. Aspects of this mosaic have been tested by students at Vanderbilt University and have proven to be useful. Based on the results from these studies, the challenges relating to bioreactors and mass/momentum transfer are currently being refined. At Northwestern, Birol and coworkers have developed challenge-based educational materials that focus on microbial kinetics and downstream processing. The combination of the work developed at Vanderbilt with the new challenge t opics at Northwestern form the basis of the ‘mosaic’ for a course on biotechnology. The aim of this study was to design a new biotechnology course centered on challenge-based education and to implement the new educational tools. This paper focuses on the implementation of the mosaic at Northwestern in the new Bioprocess Technology Course (BME 395). We also focus on how the new biotechnology course at Northwestern builds on the work from Vanderbilt and discuss issues relating to the implementation of innovative course materials.


During the 1998-99 academic year, Northwestern’s Biomedical Engineering Department became part of the Vanderbilt-Northwestern, Texas-Harvard/MIT (VaNTH) Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies funded by NSF. In this center, faculty (as domain experts) are currently working with learning scientists, learning technologists, assessment experts and students to develop educational modules and tools for bioengineering education. Learning science, learning technology and assessment are continuously being integrated into these modules (1-3).

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Birol, G., & Giorgio, T., & Brophy, S., & McKenna, A. (2002, June), Implementation Of Educational Modules In A Biotechnology Course: A Challenge Based Education Approach Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10382

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