Cooperative Experiential Learning Models for Biomedical Engineering Students
Undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) programs have increased considerably and the drives for continuous improvement of the programs persist. While covering a comprehensive base of multiple disciplines required for BME studies on campus has been a big challenge, the Industry Professional Advisory Committee members usually recommend incorporating experiential learning modules of coop or internship in the curriculum. Embedding cooperative modules within the undergraduate BME educational program is aimed to assist students in gaining the highly valuable reallife experience. The cooperative work modules facilitate the students in exploring different realistic aspects of the complex work processes in the biomedical engineering field. The values of the cooperative learning modules are recognized by the academicians. However, the developers of the BME curriculum find the inclusion of cooperative work experience or internship with a heavy course load in the program a formidable challenge. The main objective of the present work is to develop few cooperative experiential learning models for BME undergraduate students. Some variations in the models can be applied to graduate students though the constraints are different. In this paper, designs of a few co-op/internship models embedded in the undergraduate BME curriculum are described. A BME Co-op model with three phases at a teaching hospital is illustrated. Other models of one semester at a medical device company or at an academic research lab are mentioned. The results obtained clearly support the proposed co-op/internship scheme. In conclusion, integrating the cooperative work experience will be of significant value in biomedical engineering education by giving opportunities for real-life work experience to the students. For sustained success, it is essential that a suitable model must be selected to blend with the mission of the overall training program at the academic institution.
KeywordsBME Cooperative Education Experiential Learning Models Hospital Internship
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