June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.741.1 - 11.741.5
Incorporating Peer Assisted Learning into a Biomedical Engineering Instrumentation and Measurement Laboratory
The Biomedical Engineering (BME) 315 Instrumentation and Measurement Laboratory class was created to expose BME students to biological instrumentation and measurement laboratory modules. This is a time intensive laboratory class where both the instructor and teaching assistant are required in the laboratory at all times. Often times, having one teaching assistant is insufficient to interact with the more than 30 students (in multiple sections). In order to enhance the student experience, we introduced the principle of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) into our laboratory class. The main objective of the PAL system is to provide a student-to-student support system. We invited six senior students who had completed the class to act as “BME mentors”. The BME mentors’ main responsibility was to interact with the students. They did not “teach” the subject and they were not to provide the students with “quick answers” but provide guidance. The mentors also played a key role in assisting the instructor in evaluating the effectiveness of the lab module. They enhanced the interactions with the students and promoted an effective cooperative and collaborative laboratory learning environment.
Biomedical Engineering (BME) is a diverse area of study for which a student needs to be familiar with various engineering principles as well as biology and medicine. To deliver the knowledge and skills necessary, the BME 315 Instrumentation and Measurement Laboratory class was developed. Traditionally, an instrumentation laboratory class focuses on transducers and electrical instruments, similar to an Electrical Engineering Laboratory class. While this traditional instrumentation class is important for all engineers, BME students need to be exposed to biological-based measurements. According to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a bioengineering laboratory experience must include an emphasis on solving “the problems at the interface of engineering and biology”1. The main focus of this laboratory class was to introduce and apply basic engineering principles and tools to biological systems.
This class is the first time that our students are exposed to various engineering concepts and their hands-on application to biological systems. In this class, the students performed six experimental modules each of which involved at least three hours of laboratory time. The students wrote technical papers and gave a 20- minute oral presentation after each module. Hence, this is a time intensive laboratory class where both the instructor and teaching assistant are required in the laboratory at all times. It is inadequate to have one teaching assistant to interact with the more than 30 students.
Another challenge with graduate students as teaching assistants at our institute is that they often have a limited background in the many areas of BME. Most BME departments in the US have
Kang-Mieler, J. (2006, June), Incorporating Peer Assisted Learning Into A Biomedical Engineering Instrumentation And Measurement Laboratory Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--726
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