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Student-Centered Learning for Interdisciplinary Courses: A Multifaceted Approach

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Developments in BME Pedagogy and Assessment

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Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1342.1 - 22.1342.10



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Paper Authors


Naiquan (Nigel) Zheng University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Dr. Nigel Zheng received his B. Eng. from Zhejiang University, China, M.Sc. from College of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. from University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Currently he is an assistant professor in the Center for Biomedical Engineering Systems, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research interests include orthopedic biomechanics, sports medicine and rehabilitation, and motion analysis.

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WWW-based e-Learning, Problem-based Learning and Design-based Training for Interdisciplinary Courses Naiquan (Nigel) Zheng, Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Charlotte nzheng@uncc.eduAbstract Orthopedic industry has grown to a multi-billion dollar business and is in dire need of welltrained biomechanical engineers. It is important for engineering students to learn basic andrelevant medical knowledge and get ready for a job in the orthopedic industry. Teachingengineering students medical knowledge is challenging and innovative teaching and learning isneeded. This study integrated WWW-based e-Learning, problem-based learning and design-based training to improve our engineering students’ knowledge and skills in orthopedicengineering without prolonging their college life. An interdisciplinary course was developed inorthopedic engineering for junior and senior students in Mechanical Engineering. The firstobjective of this project was to improve engineering students’ self-directed learning skills ofmedical knowledge. The second objective was to improve their skills in tackling complex real-world orthopedic problems and designs through problem-based learning and design-basedtraining. Students’ knowledge was assessed through pre- and post-course surveys, as well asperiodic online quizzes. The survey data were analyzed using paired t-tests. Students’ skills inself-directed learning of basic medical knowledge were evaluated based on the knowledgestudents have acquired. Students’ skills in tackling real-world problem will be assessed inseveral dimensions (i.e., on problem definition, creating models and hypotheses, inquiry,analysis, decision and design, communication and assessment) by examining their final reportusing the rubrics developed in this study. A total of 38 students who took the course respondedto surveys. Through the course their knowledge on human joint anatomy was significantlyimproved from 1.5 to 3.9 (5 as maximum). The improvement of their knowledge was statisticallysignificant (p<0.05). Students were able to easily identify websites which provide basic medicalknowledge related to the assigned problems and design-based projects, and understand fullytheir relevance to the problems and projects. They were able to assess the value of data inproblem-solving and makes connections to the problem solution or design criteria. Their skills intackling real-world problems were significantly improved through the course based on theevaluation rubric. In this study, an integrated approach of WWW-based e-Learning, problem-based learning and design-based training was used to promote Engineering students’ interest inacquiring medical knowledge, and to improve their skills in tackling complex real-worldorthopedic problems. An interdisciplinary course with an emphasis on student-centerededucation was developed. Overall, the course received 4.0 out of 5 rating from students’evaluation as among the best, above the average 3.5 out 5.0 of the college of engineering.

Zheng, N. N. (2011, June), Student-Centered Learning for Interdisciplinary Courses: A Multifaceted Approach Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18354

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