Challenge-based Instruction: The VaNTH Biomechanics Learning Modules


This paper presents the methodology and results of teaching an entire engineering course using challenge-based instruction. The challenges consisted of eight biomechanics multimedia learning modules developed by the authors as part of a broader NSF educational coalition. The biomechanics modules were presented in an undergraduate mechanical engineering course titled “Biomechanics of Human Movement.” The class (N=18) was divided into three-member teams. Each team performed the eight computer-based assignments in intervals of one-two weeks per challenge during the semester. Pre-tests, post-tests, affect surveys, a biomechanics topics matrix, and student outcomes surveys were conducted during the course to determine the success of this approach. This paper outlines the challenge-based approaches used and presents assessment methods for a full, semester-long course. Thus, it is directed at faculty who may wish to use this interesting approach in their own engineering courses.

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Ronald E. Barr
Mechanical Engineering Department
University of Texas at Austin

Marcus G. Pandy
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
University of Melbourne

Anthony J. Petrosino
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Texas at Austin

Robert J. Roselli
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Vanderbilt University

Sean Brophy
Department of Engineering Education
Purdue University

Robert A. Freeman
Mechanical Engineering Department
University of Texas at Pan American

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