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The LAWA Technique Implemented in a Course in Nanomedicine

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Innovations in Upper-level Biomedical Engineering Courses

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1555.1 - 26.1555.15



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Paper Authors


Lindsey Taylor Brinton University of Virginia

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Lindsey Brinton is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and B.A. in French from the University of Virginia in 2009. Her dissertation research is in the laboratory of Dr. Kimberly Kelly and focuses on the development of liposomes targeted to the stromal compartment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. She has served as a teaching assistant for Calculus I and Physiology II as well as a co-instructor for Nanomedicine.

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Colleen T. Curley University of Virginia


Kimberly Kelly University of Virginia

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Associatie Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Charlottesville, VA 22908

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Teaching Tools Integrated into the Redesign of a Course in NanomedicineAdvanced engineering topics are essential to a complete undergraduate engineering education. Inbiomedical engineering, advanced topics often require integration of many fields of study,understanding of the technical aspects of wet-lab experimentation methods, and relatingmathematical concepts to biological systems, making such topics particularly challenging toteach. We have developed and evaluated several teaching tools in the context of an upper-levelelective course titled “Nanomedicine” in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the[redacted]. We hypothesize that these tools will increase understanding and improve studentperformance as measured by comparison of graded assessments from the re-designed course withthose of previous years when the course was taught in a traditional lecture format. Topics inNanomedicine include the design of nanoparticle drug delivery systems, molecular imaging, andmaterials biocompatibility. In this course, students learn more than simply the facts aboutexisting nanoparticles and nanotechnologies; they learn how to apply relevant knowledge fromprevious courses in the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, physics) and basic mathematics(algebra, calculus, differential equations) to address a disease-specific problem. Students mustmake engineering design choices compatible with current laboratory experimental techniquesand consider constraints like cost and FDA regulations as other influential factors. Studentscannot solely rely on notes from class and must also critically read relevant journal articles(some provided by the instructor and others self-identified) to build their knowledge base. In thispaper, we first describe the course structure and two teaching tools on which we will focus: (1)lecture/activity combinations that first present context-specific knowledge, then have studentswork on group activities that apply and build on that knowledge, and (2) participation-basedlearning that focuses on completion rather than accuracy. In addition to comparing performanceon graded assessments of the redesigned and traditionally formatted course, we will gain insightinto the efficacy of these teaching tools via an independently conducted Teaching Analysis Poll.We also describe the use of multiple forms of student feedback to ascertain the depth of studentunderstanding. Initial assessment results indicate that these teaching tools result in increasedunderstanding and development of independent learning skills, and generate more interest andexcitement about nanomedicine among the students.

Brinton, L. T., & Curley, C. T., & Kelly, K. (2015, June), The LAWA Technique Implemented in a Course in Nanomedicine Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24892

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