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Value of Student Resources in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Courses

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment of Learning in BME

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Paper Authors


Aldin Malkoc Arizona State University

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Aldin Malkoc, BSE is a student in the Barrett Honors College and School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Aldin is enrolled in the 4+1 program to receive his Bachelor’s in Engineering Science in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2016 and his Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2017. The primary focus in his master's thesis will pertain to the study of nanoparticles in biosensor development. Currently, Aldin is a lead tutor at the Fulton Schools of Engineering and wishes to develop effective engineering education strategies.

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Stephen J Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Casey Jane Ankeny Arizona State University

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Casey J. Ankeny, PhD is lecturer in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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Although much research focuses on student anxiety during exam preparation, very little research focuses on which resources students use as they study. This work investigates which resources as well as how often they are used when students prepare for exams and work to understand difficult concepts. More specifically, we ask “which resources do students in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering courses use when working to understand difficult concepts, preparing for examinations, and completing in computer-aided design (CAD) and programming tasks?”

Two custom surveys were created to ascertain which resources students use and how often in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering at a large public institution. For an introductory Materials Science course, we created and piloted the Student Resource Value Survey (SRVS) which asks students to assess their use of seventeen resources on a scale of “0-never” to “4-always” during exam preparation and when trying to understand a difficult learning concept. We then modified the SRVS for the Biomedical Engineering (BME) setting to include questions about CAD and programming as well called the SRVS-BME. The SRVS was piloted in Spring 2014 in an introductory materials science course before each exam, including the final. The SRVS-BME is to be piloted in Fall 2015 at the mid-point and end of the semester in a variety of Biomedical Engineering courses at all grade levels. Then, we will investigate differences in how Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering students use available resources.

The SRVS revealed resources that were consistently used throughout the semester as well as identified shifts in resource use from the beginning to the end of the semester. Briefly, students consistently used notes that they took during class (90% - percentage of “3s” and “4s”), old exams and quizzes (85%), and the posted lecture slides (83%) to prepare for exams. Resources used the least to prepare for exams included textbook readings (19%), the tutoring service (14%) and online note sets (12%). Interestingly, use of particular resources for exam preparation changed over the course of the semester. More specifically, the use of homework problems decreased from 81% to 50%, the use of the teaching assistant increased from 25% to 80%, and the use of in-class Muddiest Point feedback increased form 28% to 70%.

When struggling with difficult concepts, students used similar resources as those used for test preparation (personal class notes – 87% and posted class slides – 78%); however, students also relied heavily on online search engines such as Google (65%). Unpopular resources to learn difficult concepts included the Tutoring Center (11%) as well as online vocabulary building sites (25%). The largest changes in resource use when trying to understand a difficult concept related to review sessions (36% to 72%), in-class Muddiest Point responses (44% to 70%), and custom Muddiest Point videos (53% to 70%).

As mentioned above, our future work will collect similar data from Biomedical Engineering courses. Comparison among courses in different majors will help identify universally valuable resources and assist faculty in determining which resources to develop for student success in a variety of environments.

Malkoc, A., & Krause, S. J., & Ankeny, C. J. (2016, June), Value of Student Resources in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27176

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