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Work in Progress: Evaluation of the Concept Mapping in a Student-Centered Biomaterials Course

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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

Biomedical Division Poster Session

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Mikayle A. Holm Arizona State University

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Mikayle Holm, BSE is a student in the Barrett Honors College and School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Mikayle will receive her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in May 2016. She has a variety of research experience including a National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates, a Lab Coordinator position for Dr. Michael Caplan’s Type Two Diabetes/Childhood Obesity Lab, and an Honors Thesis project improving student attitude, achievement, and persistence with Dr. Casey Ankeny. She aspires to attend graduate school to study biomedical engineering or bioinformatics.

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Sarah E. Stabenfeldt Arizona State University

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Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University

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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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Concept mapping is a reflective technique used for teaching practices in science and engineering classrooms. It requires students to create an intellectual framework that shows major ideas and emphasizes their interrelatedness. Concept maps enable students to internalize the information they have learned, identify the key concepts, and document the relationships to one another by drawing physical connections between them. Concept maps are used in a junior-level, student-centered Biomaterials course to assess student understanding and highlight topics needing more attention. This study will investigate the newly adopted concept mapping session in terms of achievement, attitude, and persistence. Furthermore, the quality of concept map will be compared to achievement levels.

Briefly, the student-centered class entails a Muddiest Point exercise followed by the concept mapping session and a mini-lecture enhanced with Clicker questions. During the concept mapping session, students work in groups created by CATME which groups based on desired team attributes. For each homework assignment, each group creates concept maps about the related content, using a free software package, CMap. Students then evaluate their group members using CATME’s peer evaluation capability.

Assessment of concept mapping in the Biomaterials course will focus on three areas: achievement, attitude, and persistence. The achievement will be measured by the academic performance (final grades). Moreover, we will compare final grades from semesters with and without the concept mapping activity. Additionally, student concept maps will be scored according to their propositions (“Is the relationship valid?”), hierarchy (“Are more general concepts above and less general below?”), cross links (“How many connections are drawn?”), and examples (“Are there examples provided?”). It is predicted a high score on a students’ concept map correlates to high achievement. Attitude will be tracked with a custom survey based on the previously validated survey “Student Value of Muddiest Points Survey” by Carberry, et al. based on motivation theory. More specifically, students will provide feedback on the interest, utility, and cost associated with concept maps. Each survey item ranges from 1—strongly disagree to 4 – strongly agree. Scores associated with concept maps will be compared to another student-centered strategy used in the course – Muddiest Points. Lastly, persistence will be measured as those students enrolled on the 21st day of class who take the final exam.

This work will evaluate various facets of evidence-based concept mapping in a junior-level Biomaterials course. As demonstrated by others, by using concept maps as a learning strategy, instructors are giving students the opportunity to improve their critical thinking skills, to visualize the complex relationships between concepts, and to personalize their learning. Additionally, proper use of concept maps will lead to more efficient use of classroom time by more clearly understanding topics students need to be clarified.

Holm, M. A., & Stabenfeldt, S. E., & Ankeny, C. J. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Evaluation of the Concept Mapping in a Student-Centered Biomaterials Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27360

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