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Work in Progress: Development of a Virtual Introduction to Machining and Manufacturing for BME Applications

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Postcard Session (Best of Works in Progress)

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Emily Moreno University of California, Davis

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Emily Moreno is currently a Biomedical Engineering (BME) M.S. student at the University of California, Davis. Her thesis work deals with understanding the mechanisms involved with atherogenesis. Emily has been a teaching assistant for the "Introduction to Manufacturing" course for BME undergraduate seniors for two years; the last year being taught virtually. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering at UC San Diego and aims to go into the medical device industry post-graduation.

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Jennifer H. Choi University of California, Davis

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Jennifer Choi is currently an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UC Davis. In addition to teaching core undergraduate courses, Jennifer is aimed at integrating engineering design principles and hands-on experiences throughout the curriculum, and playing an active role in the senior design course. She has interests in engineering education, curricular innovation, as well as impacting the community through increased K-12 STEM awareness and education. Prior to joining UC Davis, Jennifer taught in the BME Department at Rutgers University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Advanced Technologies and Regenerative Medicine, LLC. She received her doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University, M.S. degree from Syracuse University, and B.S. degree from Cornell University.

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Anthony G. Passerini University of California, Davis Orcid 16x16

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Research Interests: Endothelial mechanobiology, inflammation, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, hemodynamics. Teaching interests: Medical device design, rapid prototyping, point-of-care technologies, cell mechanics, mechanobiology.

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Machining and manufacturing are essential skills that engineering students learn during their undergraduate years to prepare them for their future careers. Because of the unique circumstances this year, engineering educators have been challenged with the task of developing a modified curriculum to accommodate restrictions or prohibitions on in-person courses. Our BME introductory machining and manufacturing course has traditionally employed a hands-on approach to teach students valuable skills to apply to the prototyping of their senior design projects. However, due to restrictions on in-person instruction, the BME machining course underwent significant redesign to enable an entirely virtual offering.

The traditional course learning objectives were for students to learn safe use of machining tools, execute manufacturing plans for a functional device, and demonstrate an understanding of design for manufacturability constraints. The virtual course objectives include these as well as the goal of students this year to learn enough detail about the use of machining tools through readings, instructional videos, manufacturing plan assignments, and demonstration videos that they will be prepared to safely engage with machinery after a brief hands-on refresher once restrictions are eased. Another objective is for students to learn how to write strong manufacturing plans and interpret technical drawings for application to their senior design projects. Our goal in the virtual setting is to continue to provide firsthand experience and application to enhance their learning and develop transferable skills.

Normally, students would be provided with manufacturing drawings and plans for a digital microscope and each would build one over the course of 10 weeks using the lathe, mill, drill press, laser cutter, and machine shop tools. In the virtual offering, students are now expected to develop the digital microscope manufacturing plans themselves using provided machine introduction readings and general instructional machine videos provided by the university design center staff. Upon completion of their manufacturing plans, they will then be shown pre-recorded videos of the teaching assistants demonstrating key steps in the manufacturing plan during their discussion sections. They will also have the opportunity to discuss the manufacturing demonstration and other potential applications of the selected machines during these sessions. Thus, students will see the entirety of the manufacturing process of the digital microscope project. This is innovative because instead of solely watching general machining videos available online, students will apply what they have learned to writing manufacturing plans for a functional device. In doing so they will demonstrate an understanding of how to interpret engineering drawings and design for manufacturability considerations. The hope is that this approach will encourage students to become more invested in the project. We hypothesize that his will enhance their learning and machining knowledge. Data will be collected through student surveys at the end of the course. Students will be asked if they feel they have met all the course objectives through a survey using a Likert scale. Quantitative scores to assess student learning will be measured using the end of course exam, in which students will answer questions related to each of the course objectives including machining and manufacturing operational knowledge, reading and understanding technical drawings, and developing manufacturing plans.

This innovative approach to teaching a machining course virtually is incredibly relevant to engineering education at a time when access to hands-on learning is limited by necessity. If successful, the strategies employed may prove beneficial to implement for more long-term online course offerings.

Moreno, E., & Choi, J. H., & Passerini, A. G. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Development of a Virtual Introduction to Machining and Manufacturing for BME Applications Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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