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Novel Module Improves Learning Of Capillary Filtration

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

BME Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.966.1 - 10.966.6



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Henrickson

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Heather Gunter

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Joseph Bonventre

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

Novel Module Improves Learning of Capillary Filtration

Heather E. Gunter1, Sarah E. Henrickson1, Joseph V. Bonventre1 1 Harvard – MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology


The concepts underlying capillary filtration are fundamental topics in physiology courses taught to undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering students. Students have reported anecdotally that this material is difficult to master. Furthermore, overall student exam performance does not correlate with performance on specific questions regarding capillary filtration. Based on this backgound, a module that presents capillary filtration in the context of glomerular filtration has been developed, revised and incorporated into the curriculum of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology renal pathophysiology course.

Module design was based on the learning and teaching principles outlined in How People Learn1. It replaces the traditional instruction of the same material, which consisted of a lecture, paper based problem set and assigned textbook reading. The module replaces the traditional problem set and textbook reading with two interactive on-line exercises that present content and provide real time formative assessment to students. The first exercise is assigned prior to the lecture and presents basic concepts including hydrostatic and oncotic pressure. Student performance and feedback collected during this on-line exercise informs the lecture content and is used by the instructor to tailor it to the learners. A novel java based simulation of glomerular filtration that permits manipulation of independent variables while displaying the dependent variables is projected during the module’s lecture (and available for use by learners outside of the lecture). It expands the range of examples that are presented by the lecturer and facilitates interaction between students and the lecturer. Feedback from students and faculty following implementation of the module was positive, and specific feedback helped guide a re- implementation of the module with more opportunities for learning and formative evaluation before and after the lecture.

Knowledge based outcomes demonstrate that students taught using the module have improved mastery of the three learning objectives (effect sizes = 0.46, 0.42, 0.25) than those taught using traditional instructional techniques. This assessment was derived from comparison of rubric- based scores of student responses to exam questions following traditional instruction (n=39) and module based instruction (n=46). Future efforts will focus on refinement and packaging of the module for dissemination to other classrooms, such as an undergraduate physiology class at Northwestern University, which has already used the module.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Henrickson, S., & Gunter, H., & Bonventre, J. (2005, June), Novel Module Improves Learning Of Capillary Filtration Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15205

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