Biomedical Engineering, Co-education of Biomedical Science and Engineering Students

Mirjam Jonkman, Friso De Boer, David Radcliffe, Josh Humphries

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


    Biomedical engineering is a multidisciplinary field where engineers, scientists, physicians and other health workers are required to work together and to communicate effectively. This can be a difficult task, as concepts which are common knowledge in one discipline are often foreign to people working in another area. At Charles Darwin University a new biomedical engineering unit was introduced, which is both a core unit for biomedical science students and an elective for engineering students in their final year. The unit aims to offer a broad perspective on biomedical engineering. Teaching a diverse group provides opportunities as well as challenges. Students can learn from each other and gain experience working in multidisciplinary teams. The necessity to communicate between the two different groups encourages critical thinking and develops communication skills. There are, however, also a number of difficulties associated with the diverse background of the students. Since the knowledge base of the two groups of students does not overlap it is a major challenge to ensure that the content of the lectures is comprehensible and sufficiently interesting for all students. Choosing assessment methods in such a way that none of the two groups has an unfair advantage over the other group poses another problem. This paper describes the approaches taken to maximise the advantages associated with the diversity of student backgrounds and to overcome the problems mentioned above. Experiences during the first year the unit has run have been positive. Evaluations showed that students enjoyed the subject and felt that the cooperation with students from another discipline enriched their learning experience. The lectures were considered useful and interesting. Students considered the methods used for assessment fair and their results did not indicate that one group had an unfair advantage over the other group.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    Event4th Global Colloquium on Engineering Educaton - Sydney
    Duration: 26 Sept 200529 Sept 2005


    Conference4th Global Colloquium on Engineering Educaton


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