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Promoting Active Learning in Biomedical Engineering Classes through Blended Instruction

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Innovations in Pedagogy

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1018.1 - 24.1018.14



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Paper Authors


Amit Janardhan Nimunkar University of Wisconsin Madison

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Amit J Nimunkar received his B.E. in Electronics Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India in 1999, M.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio in 2000 and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin in 2009. He is currently the Associate Faculty Associate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching specialty is on the topic of Biomedical Engineering Design and Bioinstrumentation and has taken initiative to develop hands-on blended learning based courses on the same topics. His research interest is on global health and engineering and currently working on projects in Honduras, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. He has received the Recognition Award for Achievement in Global Engaged Scholarship in 2013 through the Wisconsin Without Borders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Professor of the Year Award in 2012, through the Biomedical Engineering Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a number of teaching awards.

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Xuan Zhang University of Wisconsin - madison

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Xuan Zhang received her B.E. degree in the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering from Harbin Engineering University, China, in 2011. She is now working on her Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Prof. John Webster in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Mehdi Shokoueinejad University of Wisconsin Madison

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Mehdi Shokoueinejad received the B.E.E. degree from University of Tehran, in 2011, and the M.S.B.M.E. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 2013. He is currently PhD student with an emphasis in Bio-instrumentation at university of Wisconsin-Madison. His researches are on the devices for 1. diagnosing lower urinary tract dysfunction and 2. Noninvasive ventilation sensors and heartbeat algorithms in order to design the device to prevent stopping of breathing during sleep (under Prof. Webster supervision). He is also Teacher Assistant for courses in Medical instrumentation design and Bioinstrumenation Laboratory. His research interests are the design of physiological sensing technologies and the signal processing techniques.

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John G. Webster PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Biomedical Engineering

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John G. Webster received the B.E.E. degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA in 1953, and the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA in 1965 and 1967, respectively.
He is Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. In the field of medical instrumentation he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in bioinstrumentation and design. He does research on improving electrodes for ablating liver to cure cancer, on safety of electromuscular incapacitating devices, on a miniature hot flash recorder, and on an implantable intracranial pressure sensor.
He is the editor of the most-used text in biomedical engineering: Medical instrumentation: application and design, Fourth Edition New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, and has developed 22 other books including the Encyclopedia of medical devices and instrumentation, Second Edition, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2006, and 200 research papers.
Dr. Webster is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Instrument Society of America, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and Institute of Physics. He has been a member of the IEEE-EMBS Administrative Committee and the NIH Surgery and Bioengineering Study Section. He is the recipient of the 2001 IEEE-EMBS Career Achievement Award.

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Promoting Active Learning in Biomedical Engineering Classes through Blended Learning      We implemented blending learning in one of our core biomedical engineering classes on Bioinstrumentation.Bioinstrumentation is a sophomore level required first course in bioinstrumentation covering clinical andresearch measurements for students interested in electrical, mechanical and chemical measurements inbiomedical engineering. The course covers measurements for: statistics, electronics, molecules such as DNAsequencing, polymers such as protein adsorption, blood components and cell counting, cells for tissueengineering, sensors for nervous, cardiac and respiratory systems, imaging, kidney clearance, bone mineral,temperature and movement. .Each chapter in the textbook is explained through a list of instructional objectives (IOs), which contains asummary of the concepts, relationships, and skills presented in this course. These IOs provide students with aguide for learning the material in the chapter. For each of the IOs we prepared a power point slide with anonline video, which is about 2 – 3 minutes long. The students are required to view each video and after eachvideo take an online multiple-choice quiz with automated grading before they come to the class. During theclass, we conduct a 10 min in-class quiz based on the material taught in the previous videos and classdiscussion. Students are provided with a list of problems to work on for the next 30 min with 7 students at eachround table in a large classroom. The instructor and lab-teaching assistants walk around and answer studentquestions in class. The instructor gives a 10 min lecture at the end of the class discussing the methods to solvethese in-class problems. After the following day quiz, the solutions to these problems are posted on the coursewebpage.We used the HD Everio camera to make the videos on medical or lab instruments and Everio MediaBrowser 3to download the video from the Everio camera. We also used some instructional videos from online. We usedCamtasia Studio 8 to make instructor’s voiceover for the Powerpoint with moving cursor or capture figures onthe screen and uses Camtasia Studio 8 to edit and deal with the videos we needed. All the videos were posted onthe course webpage using Moodle.We conducted a survey during the early part of the semester. We asked the following question: “List changes toBioinstrumenation that will help improve your learning the most:” We received 26 responses. The students hadsuggestions with regards to the timing for in-class quizzes, posting detailed answers for the quizzes, the amountof time it takes for answering online quizzes with Moodle. The students offered comments with regards to thelab part of the course. We addressed some of these concerns during the semester. We plan to improve quizzingfor future offerings of this course.One of our challenges was the adequate space needed for blended learning instruction for 88 students. Wewanted the students to sit in groups around a table, so they could work together and share ideas. However, thisrequired more space than traditional classroom instruction, which we have received through our college ofengineering. We are working on improving the course material and to find a physical space with group tables toscale the course for eventual projected enrollment of 150 students.  

Nimunkar, A. J., & Zhang, X., & Shokoueinejad, M., & Webster, J. G. (2014, June), Promoting Active Learning in Biomedical Engineering Classes through Blended Instruction Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22951

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