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Integration Of Diverse Laboratory Experiences Throughout The Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Laboratories in BME

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.799.1 - 11.799.10



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Paper Authors


Judy Cezeaux Western New England College

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Judy Cezeaux is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts. She received her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and her Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to her appointment at Western New England College, she was a Senior Staff Fellow at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, West Virginia. She was a faculty member at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1991 to 2000. Her interests are engineering education, physiological effects of vibration, and tissue engineering.

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Steven Schreiner Western New England College

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Steven Schreiner is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Schreiner received his Ph.D. and M.S.B.E at Vanderbilt University, and his B.S.E.E. at Western New England College. He held a two-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. He has held engineering positions in industry and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee. His interests include engineering education, signal and image processing, advanced surgical navigation devices, medical instrumentation, and medical imaging.

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Diane Testa Western New England College

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Diane Muratore Testa received her B.A. degree in mathematics from Siena College in 1989, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1998 and 2002, respectively. She has served as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Western New England College for the past four years where she teaches courses in bioinstrumentation and medical imaging. Testa has worked extensively with Engineering World Health as a technical assistant in Central America in 2004 and in the advising of instrumentation design projects for developing world hospitals.

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

Integration of Diverse Laboratory Experiences throughout the Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Abstract

Laboratory instruction is crucial in bioengineering curricula to introduce biological and physiological measurements as well as to foster an understanding of the complex nature of biological systems. Traditionally, stand-alone bioengineering laboratory courses provided students an opportunity to learn the function and operation of instrumentation as well as to analyze data by applying theories learned in lecture courses. More recently, studio environments have brought the lecture and laboratory together in a single course, emphasizing the relationship between theory and reality. This paper describes the use of stand-alone laboratories, studio-like environments, and a hybrid type of homework assignment, called physical homework, to provide hands-on learning experiences that are integrated throughout the biomedical engineering curriculum.


Bioengineering laboratory courses are as diverse as the programs that offer them. Traditionally, laboratory experiences occurred within stand-alone laboratory courses that supported material learned previously or concurrently in lecture-based courses. More recently, many institutions have integrated problem-based learning into these courses.1 Another recent development in bioengineering is the use of studio learning which involves the integration of lecture and laboratory in the same course and promotes active learning.2,3

The Biomedical Engineering program at Western New England College uses a variety of methods to deliver hands-on opportunities, integrating these experiences throughout the curriculum. These methods include stand-alone laboratory courses as well as studio-like learning, where laboratories and lectures are integrated, and a hybrid type of homework assignment called physical homework. Physical homework is similar to traditional homework, but includes an experimental component that can be performed individually by each student outside of a designated laboratory period or class. Specifics of the application of these types of hands-on experiences are described in this paper.

Physical Homework

The term “physical homework” has been used previously to describe a laboratory portion of a freshman engineering course that complements lectures on mechanics with real-life examples of these principles.4 Our definition of physical homework is an assignment that is similar to traditional homework, but includes an experimental component that can be performed individually by each student outside of a designated laboratory period or class. In general, the data analyzed in the physical homework can be directly compared to that predicted using theory. Physical homework is especially useful in relating abstract mathematical concepts to real-world examples. Ideally, physical homework utilizes inexpensive equipment that is easy to duplicate or equipment that is readily available in undergraduate laboratories that can be used with minimal supervision.

Cezeaux, J., & Schreiner, S., & Testa, D. (2006, June), Integration Of Diverse Laboratory Experiences Throughout The Biomedical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1227

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