A spiral curriculum approach to the implementation of instrumentation in biological systems engineering

Kumar Mallikarjunan, Anand Lakshmikanth, John Cundiff, Andrew Fulton

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The Engineering Education and Biological Systems Engineering departments at Virginia Tech have identified a need for a spiral themed curriculum in undergraduate engineering education. Approval for carrying out studies in implementing the spiral curriculum was approved in the Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) department in November 2007 by the university's Internal Review Board allowing the investigators to conduct their studies by gaining access to and analyzing student responses, course materials, and student participation for the efficacy of the implementation of the spiral curriculum. The first phase of an assignment module was implemented in a sophomore level course during the Fall semester of 2007. The module involved introducing data acquisition and control concepts to students through lecture sessions, assignments, and hands-on experience with setting up a circuit, a data acquisition unit, and utilization of the LabVIEW software in acquiring data. Student understanding of the concepts was evaluated by subjecting the students to five pre- and post-test survey questions, four of which were set up on a 5-point Likert scale. Results of a paired t-test analysis performed on Likert scale responses of 14 students indicated a significant change between pre-and post-test for two of the four questions answered. Student responses in the post-test quiz and survey indicated a similarity in terms of knowledge gained through the module, and indicated a better understanding of terms like precision, accuracy, and concepts of controlling a system. The first phase of implementation will be followed by a second phase involving control of a system during the Spring semester of 2007.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

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