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Methods For The Dissemination Of Educational Reform In Biomedical Engineering

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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

BME Curriculum Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.928.1 - 11.928.7



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Paper Authors


Thomas Harris Vanderbilt University

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Thomas R. Harris is the Orrin Henry Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Medicine at Vanderbilt University. He is currently Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University and the Ph.D. degree from Tulane University in that field. He holds an M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. His current interests focus on the development of learning science and learning technology for bioengineering. He is currently the director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies.

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Sean Brophy Purdue University

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Dr. Sean Brophy is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He is the Director of the Learning Science Thrust for the VaNTH ERC. He holds degrees in engineering and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning. He is an expert on learning science with an emphasis on the "How People Learn" educational framework and challenge-based instruction in engineering.

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Robert Linsenmeier Northwestern University

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Robert A. Linsenmeier is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology& Physiology at Northwestern University. He holds the Bette and Neisen Harris Chair of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern. He received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie -Mellon University and holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. He is an active investigator in the physiology of the eye and is Associate Director of the VaNTH ERC.

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Alene Harris Purdue University

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

Methods for the Dissemination of Educational Reform in Biomedical Engineering Abstract

The Vanderbilt-Northwestern-Texas-Harvard/MIT (VaNTH) Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies has conducted research and development on methods to improve bioengineering education for the last 6 years. This project has sought to synthesize learning science, learning technology, assessment and evaluation and the domain knowledge of bioengineering so that new approaches to bioengineering education could be developed and tested. This project has resulted in a number of innovations that have been shown to improve the educational process in bioengineering. We are currently developing methods to disseminate these findings and make then available to the bioengineering educational community.

I. Introduction

Recently, there has been a significant concern expressed by academic, scientific, business and governmental leaders regarding the ability of the USA to compete in a global market1,2, 3 . A persistent theme in these discussions is the role and importance of scientific and engineering education in making the US workforce competitive. Issues regarding “innovation” are prominent in these discussions. Clough et al 2 emphasize that the “Engineer of 2020” should be characterized by strong analytical skills, practical ingenuity, creativity, high ethical standards, dynamism, agility, resilience, flexibility and abilities for lifelong learning as well as other important characteristics.

We have been working on designs for bioengineering educational environments that seek to improve the effectiveness of bioengineering education and inculcate the principles discussed in the “2020” documents. VaNTH performed research that led to the development of principles for instructional design based on the educational paradigms presented in the NAS book “How People Learn”4 . These educational approaches are termed the “How People Learn Framework” (HPL)5. Instructional approaches were based on the Legacy Cycle method of instructional design6, 7which concentrates on presenting a challenge to the student, requesting them to generate ideas, providing resources for evaluation of these ideas including standard lectures and homework, provides methods for formative assessment and ends with a summative assessment report or test.

II. Barriers to Reform

This work has led to the identification of barriers to educational reform in bioengineering and to reform in engineering education in general. These barriers are as follows: • Barrier to the rapid use of technology in college instruction. • Barrier to the acceptance and utilization of the findings of learning science in bioengineering education. The bioengineering faculty culture concentrates on taxonomy- driven rather than challenge-driven instructional design. • Barrier to broad use of evaluation and assessment in testing educational innovations or measuring progress of educational programs.

Harris, T., & Brophy, S., & Linsenmeier, R., & Harris, A. (2006, June), Methods For The Dissemination Of Educational Reform In Biomedical Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--811

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