DESIGN-BUILD EXPERIENCE-BASED PROGRAM IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AS A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF SCIENCE FOR PROFESSIONS
An immediate consequence of the motto “Science for Professions” at the University of Borås is the intended goal of producing professional university graduates. With that in mind, the School of Engineering aims to produce engineers professional life and the worldwide Conceive-Design-Implement&Operate (CDIO) initiative provides the means to achieve it. On the one hand, the CDIO syllabus has summarized a set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are desired in any engineering graduate . On the other hand the Design-Building Experience (DBE) is a Teaching-Learning Activity not only supports the learning of engineering knowledge but at the same time enhances the development of personal and interpersonal skills and abilities in the students .
The CDIO framework is aimed at educational programs with 3-4 years of tuition. When applying a similar approach to a one-year master program, several adjustments must be made. As result, instead of producing a design build specific course, several DBE activities have been produced and integrated in the courses of the program for the complete academic year, producing a DBE-based program.
To evaluate, if the DBE activities achieved their intended learning outcomes we asked the students to assess their own improvement in terms of knowledge and certain engineering, personal and interpersonal skills. The survey was anonymous and made use of a Learning Management Platform, PingPong. The survey contained 20 questions with multiple answer and questions with an opportunity for free text writing. The students answered after the completion of two DBE activities, which were performed during the autumn and winter teaching periods.
The results of the survey indicate that generally the DBE activities achieved their purpose. From the answers it was obvious that the students appreciated such pedagogical activity and founded them motivating and useful.
As project managers we were able to ask questions and converse with the students and thereby gather data in addition to the survey responses. The students were troubled about the way the DBE was evaluated as well as concerned about the influence of the DBE on the final grade of the courses. In some cases the students somewhat obsessed with the final evaluation and grade. Most of the students were from outside Europe and were skeptical towards the whole concept of student-centered learning and especially peer-assessment, an activity used as part of the assessment of the DBE activity. This response is something that Edström noted in his study on integrated assessment .
It can be concluded that the integration of the DBE activities in the program achieved the main learning outcomes but created certain discomfit among the students, regarding the evaluation process for the whole course. The origin of such discomfit could be the result of many factors including the prior expectations that students have. Students used to traditional forms of teaching and learning clearly have some difficulty adjusting to DBE activities with their emphasis on cooperation, active learning and peer assessment.
1.Crawley, E.F., The CDIO Syllabus. A Statement of Goals for Undergraduate Engineering Education. 2001.
2.Salerud, E.G., et al., Design-Build Experiences and Student-Centered-Learning in Biomedical Engineering Curricula. 2006.
3.Edstroöm, K., et al., Integrated assessment of disciplinary, personal and interpersonal skills in a design-build course. 2005.