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Student Reactions to Electronic Learning Modules in BME

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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

22.1336.1 - 22.1336.11



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Paper Authors


Robert A. Linsenmeier Northwestern University

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Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology & Physiology. Director, Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research

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Melvin Andrew McElrath Marquette University

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I am a fourth year biomedical engineering student with an emphasis in biomechanics at Marquette University. I spent this summer working under Professor Robert Linsenmeier data mining and investigating student reactions to CAPE modules. I have future plans to go on to graduate school and pursue my doctoral degree.

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Wendy Murray Northwestern University

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Laura M. Haugh-Scheidt Northwestern University

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Student Reactions to Electronic Learning Modules in BME The VaNTH ERC developed the CAPE/eLMS platform for electronic delivery ofproblems. The design goals for CAPE/eLMS were to provide a platform that was consistent withprinciples of the “How People Learn” framework, particularly more frequent and usefulfeedback to students than is often provided on traditional homework. At the same time, thesystem provides information to instructors on students’ frequent errors, relieves the need tospend time on grading, and can provide practice on topics that are not easily done with pencil-and-paper assignments. The CAPE/eLMS system has been shown to provide benefits in vectoranalysis and free body diagram construction, but the extent to which the original goals have beenmet has not been fully analyzed across modules. As one component of that, we analyzed datafrom surveys included at the end of selected CAPE/eLMS homework problems used inbiomechanics and physiology courses. Likert scales from strongly disagree to strongly agreewere used for each question. In response to the survey question: “I thought this was a useful homework problem,”70% agreed or strongly agreed for 3 of the 4 biomechanics modules investigated, and 50%agreed on the fourth module, which is by far the most complex. A high percentage of studentsintended to return to these modules to review for exams. In the 6 physiology modules analyzed,the range of perceived usefulness was larger, with 30 to 85% of the students agreeing or stronglyagreeing that different modules were useful. Two other survey questions: “I liked doing thisproblem on the computer rather than in the traditional way,” and “Using the eLMS systemhelped me understand the concepts behind the problem” were significantly correlated with“usefulness.” Within almost all modules in biomechanics and physiology, students whoconsidered a module useful were those who preferred doing the module electronically and thosewho indicated that the electronic format helped them understand concepts. Many of the modulesdid appear to be useful for learning, because module performance was significantly predictive ofscores on exams in both courses. Many students appreciate the usefulness of CAPE/eLMS modules, but not all modulesare equally successful. We need to understand why in order to revise existing modules anddesign new ones. For an individual module, students differ considerably in their responses to theelectronic format. Those who find it frustrating are apt to dismiss the utility of the module andthose who are accepting of the electronic format tend to find the modules useful. This suggeststhat enhancement of the electronic experience itself could allow more students to recognize thelearning benefits of this technology.

Linsenmeier, R. A., & McElrath, M. A., & Murray, W., & Haugh-Scheidt, L. M. (2011, June), Student Reactions to Electronic Learning Modules in BME Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18358

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