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Work in Progress: Collaborative Learning in Medical Electronics Laboratory

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1383.1 - 23.1383.5



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Paper Authors


Jorge E Bohorquez University of Miami

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Dr. Jorge Bohórquez received his bachelor degrees in Physics and Electrical engineering in 1984 and his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering in 1991. Currently Dr. Bohórquez works as an assistant professor of Professional Practice at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University of Miami. His research interests are Engineering Education, Neural Engineering, Biosignal Processing and Instrumentation.

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Jonathon Anthony Toft-Nielsen

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Collaborative Learning in Medical Electronics Laboratory: work in progressThe present work presents the educational experiences resulting from the overhaul of a BMEsenior Medical Electronics Laboratory course (2 credits). This course was originally offered asthe hand-on supplement to a microcontroller course (3 credits) for Biomedical Engineering(BME) students following the electrical concentration. While the theoretic aspects and basicguided laboratories were covered in the microcontroller lecture course, the Medical Electronicslaboratory course was reworked to boost student’s design, crafting, troubleshooting and teamwork skills via the development of realistic medical devices. A methodology based on the designand testing of challenge projects was selected to achieve the objectives. The projects weredesigned to produce an environment for student’s cooperative learning by having the followingcharacteristics: a) Each project’s problem statement was open, in order to allow for multiplepossible solutions ; b) Each project was designed to have a feasible turnaround of only a fewweeks, with controlled complexity in order to setup the students to be successful; c) Deadlinesfor the implementation of the projects were tight, making it necessary for students to evenlydistribute project tasks and fostering teamwork in order to meet deadlines; d) Each project wasdesigned to encompass several cross-cutting aspects of device development, including analogcircuits, interface, power supplies, and low and high level programming, allowing projects to bebroken down into a number of functional tasks. Regarding the development of the projects, thestudents were required to follow a strict top-down methodology with clearly defined tasks anddeliverables. Teams, each consisting of four students, were assigned roles in accordance withthe functional breakdown of each project. For each new project, students were required toassume a different functional role (Hardware, Software, Interface etc.) then they had formallyperformed in order to ensure that all students experienced the responsibilities of each role andobtained perspective on all aspects of developing a medical device. Initially, the role of projectmanager was assumed by the instructor and teaching assistant (TA), but managingresponsibilities were progressively given to the students as the course progressed. The finalproject was fully managed by the students and the Instructor and TA assumed the double role ofcustomer/advisor. The course was taught once a week for four+ hours. The course was assessedby the students by using the formal college evaluation process and specially designed surveys.The achievement of the course objectives was assessed by the instructor and TA by theretrospective assessment of the students’ reports and using their personal experiences as well.The technical development of the projects was assessed as excellent. The students reported ahigh level of satisfaction with the content and the methodology of the course. A high level ofcooperative learning was observed by the instructor and TA and acknowledged by the students.The full paper will include a detailed description of the projects and the analysis of the results ofthe student evaluations and assessments. A discussion of the possible replicability of themethodology applied to other courses and the scalability to classes with a larger number ofstudents will also be addressed.

Bohorquez, J. E., & Toft-Nielsen, J. A. (2013, June), Work in Progress: Collaborative Learning in Medical Electronics Laboratory Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22768

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