Research Papers

Improving Biomedical Engineering Education Through Continuity in Adaptive, Experiential, and Interdisciplinary Learning Environments

[+] Author and Article Information
Anita Singh

Biomedical Engineering,
School of Engineering,
Widener University,
Chester, PA 19013
e-mail: asingh2@widener.edu

Dawn Ferry, Susan Mills

School of Nursing,
Widener University,
Chester, PA 19013

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received April 4, 2018; final manuscript received May 17, 2018; published online June 7, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Kristen Billiar.

J Biomech Eng 140(8), 081009 (Jun 07, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-18-1165; doi: 10.1115/1.4040359 History: Received April 04, 2018; Revised May 17, 2018

This study reports our experience of developing a series of biomedical engineering (BME) courses having active and experiential learning components in an interdisciplinary learning environment. In the first course, BME465: biomechanics, students were immersed in a simulation laboratory setting involving mannequins that are currently used for teaching in the School of Nursing. Each team identified possible technological challenges directly related to the biomechanics of the mannequin and presented an improvement overcoming the challenge. This approach of exposing engineering students to a problem in a clinical learning environment enhanced the adaptive and experiential learning capabilities of the course. In the following semester, through BME448: medical devices, engineering students were partnered with nursing students and exposed to simulation scenarios and real-world clinical settings. They were required to identify three unmet needs in the real-world clinical settings and propose a viable engineering solution. This approach helped BME students to understand and employ real-world applications of engineering principles in problem solving while being exposed to an interdisciplinary collaborative environment. A final step was for engineering students to execute their proposed solution from either BME465 or BME448 courses by undertaking it as their capstone senior design project (ENGR401-402). Overall, the inclusion of clinical immersions in interdisciplinary teams in a series of courses not only allowed the integration of active and experiential learning in continuity but also offered engineers more practice of their profession, adaptive expertise, and an understanding of roles and expertise of other professionals involved in enhancement of healthcare and patient safety.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Series of courses (BME465: Biomechanics, BME448: Medical Devices, ENGR401-402: Senior Design Capstone Courses) in the BME Curriculum with adaptive and experiential learning environment in an interdisciplinary setting

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Students immersed in simulation scenarios: left, engineering and nursing student teams working together to diagnose the problem in a simulated setting; right, team observing from outside to provide student feedback during debriefing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

ENGR401-402 senior design project related to an unmet need in a surgical retractor set identified during BME448 course: (a) CAD renderings of the design, (b) stress analysis using FEA, and (c) force analysis for retractor heads




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