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Students Create Problems For Teaching And Learning

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

New Trends in CHE Education I

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1086.1 - 14.1086.13



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Paper Authors

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Claire Komives San Jose State University

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Erik Fernandez University of Virginia

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

Abstract The BioEngineering Educational Materials Bank (BioEMB) is a web repository of biological applications that has been designed to enable chemical engineering students to learn to apply their chemical engineering principles to biological processes and problems. In spite of getting many offers of contributions to the website from Biochemical Engineering faculty, only very few problems were submitted except by a handful of faculty. In order to expand the contributions to the website, students in the senior Biochemical Engineering elective course were assigned the task of creating problems suitable for the BioEMB website. The problem creation was generated from information in research papers on bioprocesses. Coupled with a rubric for the problem development and some mentoring by the faculty, students have learned about process design, along with the peer review and publishing aspect of having their problems posted on the website. The project has shown that students can learn about applying material balance concepts to the scale-up of published data and information to develop a process design strategy. In turn, the problems were "beta-tested" in the undergraduate chemical engineering core course. Assessment of this project by means of surveys of the students who developed the problems, surveys of the students who solved the problems in the chemical engineering course, as well as the peer review of the problems by biochemical engineering faculty will be presented. This strategy for student learning could effectively be utilized with other application areas as a way to incorporate more interdisciplinary learning in the undergraduate curriculum.

Introduction Since the late 1990's there has been a drive to integrate more biological applications into the undergraduate chemical engineering (ChE) curriculum. The availability of employment opportunities in the life sciences has grown steadily for ChE graduates, spurred by the expansion of bioprocessing to include both high margin fine chemicals and therapeutics as well as low margin commodities[1, 2]. In 2001, a workshop was held at the National Science Foundation to assemble a set of recommendations for embellishing the undergraduate ChE curriculum with more biology [3]. Since that time, the National Science Foundation has supported the development of educational resources for biochemical engineering education, including a set of workshops and modules organized through Tufts University[4]. NSF also sponsored workshops to discuss the modernization of ChE education [5] with a particular emphasis on the integration of biology, molecular transformation, and other frontier areas into the ChE curriculum. A significant outcome of the projects is an increased awareness among ChE faculty of the need to enrich and revitalize ChE education to address the needs of industry and the interests of students. A strong endorsement for including more biology in the ChE curriculum is the considerable number of ChE departments that have included "biological," "biochemical," or other type of bioengineering program in the department name.

The Bioengineering Educational Materials Bank (BioEMB) was conceived at an American Chemical Society meeting in 2004 during an education session that was held as part of the Biochemical Technology Division symposium [6]. The session was attended by both industrial and academic participants. The general consensus at this gathering was that a database of solved problems addressing biological applications would enable faculty to begin to incorporate bio into their courses. The database would function as a supplementary solution manual to the textbook solution manual. An NSF Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement proposal was


Komives, C., & Fernandez, E. (2009, June), Students Create Problems For Teaching And Learning Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5793

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