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Increasing student confidence and enthusiasm in a physiological signals lab: Work in Progress

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.947.1 - 26.947.5



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology (COE)

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Dr. Jennifer Bailey is a Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she has taught since January of 2014. She previously taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Southern Indiana after graduating from Purdue University. Bailey's passion is lab course development and improving student learning through enhancing lab experiences.

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Increasing student confidence and enthusiasm in a physiological signals lab: Work in ProgressStudent attitude and motivation is a key element with respect to learning gains. This isundoubtedly true for lab classes that depend on prescriptive style lab activities. The traditionalprocedure-driven lab style leaves students with experiences that lack creativity and appreciationfor the techniques being performed. Addressing these aspects of the student lab experience willenhance their motivation and attitude towards learning. The goal of this pedagogical method isto increase confidence and enthusiasm by having students develop “expertise” through guidedexploration and then teaching their peers how to perform and analyze a specific experiment. Inthe semester long Quantitative Physiological Signal Analysis Lab, one of the primary objectivesis for Biomedical Engineering students to develop and demonstrate skills related to themeasurement and analysis of physiological signals. The last section of the course addresses thisobjective by focusing one week per physiological signal - ECG, EEG, EMG, EOG, and actionpotential propagation. In this section of the course, the students utilize familiar signalmeasurement techniques followed by analysis of the signal using either Matlab or Labview.While simply spending one week at a time on each signal as a class is comprehensive, anotherpedagogical method is being explored. Groups of two or three students will be assigned basedon a survey of their preference for a physiological signal to measure and analyze. The groupswill be given general guidelines for data measurement, background information for data analysis,and objectives for the rest of the class to achieve. In the second week of the section, the groupswill present how to collect and analyze data in order to meet the instructor provided objectives.This peer teaching will be in the form of a presentation and providing written instructions as wellas any code created for data analysis. During the following four weeks, each group will measureand analyze the other physiological signals presented to them by their peers. The primaryexpected outcome for this pedagogical technique is an improvement in student learning attitudesincluding confidence in their understanding and enthusiasm for learning new material as assessedby anonymous surveys. Other motivations for this technique requiring future assessment areincreased learning gains due to student exploration of the initial experiment and peer teaching aswell as the potential enhancement of leadership skills by being the “expert” with respect to thematerial of interest.

Bailey, J. (2015, June), Increasing student confidence and enthusiasm in a physiological signals lab: Work in Progress Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24284

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