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Longitudinal Assessment of Web-enabled Muddiest Points in Different Biomedical Engineering Courses

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment of Learning in BME

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Casey Jane Ankeny Arizona State University

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Casey J. Ankeny, PhD is lecturer in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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Stephen J Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Research highlights the benefit of student reflection and frequent, formative feedback. One such method is the Muddiest Point exercise where students reflect after instruction about both unclear and interesting points. Then, instructors analyze student feedback for the most popular concepts and select those central to the learning objective. Previously, our work has shown that students feel favorably about the interest, utility, and “cost” associated with this exercise in a one-credit, junior level Statistics course. This work compares student attitude in other courses to discern if the Muddiest Point exercise strategy is universally favorable.

The previously validated, reliable Student Value Survey of Muddiest Points Survey by Carberry, et al. was used to assess student attitude about utility, interest, and cost of this student engagement strategy in the following courses: Biomaterials (BM), Statistics (ST), and Transport Phenomena (TP). Briefly, Transport Phenomena is a three-credit, flipped course for juniors. Biomaterials is a traditionally-taught, three-credit course also at the junior level. After each lecture, students submitted both unclear and most interesting concepts through Blackboard. Following feedback, the instructor analyzed the results and created feedback using a different strategy than previously employed. At the midpoint and end of the semester, students participated in the Student Value Survey. Responses were on a Likert scale where 1 is strongly disagree and 4 is strongly agree. Data from multiple semesters (ST– 4 semesters, TP and BM – 2 semesters) were analyzed. Percentages corresponding to agreement correlate to scores of “3” and “4”. Differences were evaluated using the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test with post-hoc analysis. Previously, comparisons between mid- and final surveys yielded few differences; therefore, this analysis focuses on the post-semester data (nBM = 26, nST = 201, and nTP = 55).

Overall, students felt that the Muddiest Point exercise was interesting (72%-BM, 62%-ST, 65%-TP), useful (98%-BM, 93%-ST, 90%-TP), and did not cost too much in terms of time and emotion (72%-BM, 75%-ST, 70%-TP). Question-by-question investigation showed that students felt favorably with respect to all survey aspects and revealed small but statistically significant differences among classes. More specifically, students in Statistics felt that the Muddiest Point exercise increased their engagement more so than those in the Biomaterials course. Further, students in the Biomaterials and Statistics courses felt that the Muddiest Point exercise allowed them to see real world relevance of the subject matter more so than those in the Transport Phenomena course. There were no other significant differences in question responses among classes. Further, statistical analysis confirmed that there were no differences in the overall categories of “utility”, “interest”, and “cost” (p>0.05) among the selected Biomedical Engineering classes. This work highlights high student value of the Muddiest Point exercise in Statistics, Biomaterials, and Transport Phenomena courses. Moreover, these results suggest that the Muddiest Point exercise is an effective reflective tool for frequent, formative feedback in any classroom.

Ankeny, C. J., & Krause, S. J. (2016, June), Longitudinal Assessment of Web-enabled Muddiest Points in Different Biomedical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25578

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