I URD to Showcase Undergraduate Research
Check out undergraduate research and new resources developed for courses through the Technology Fellowship Program
II Summer Teaching Institute
Second annual workshop to be held May 27th - 29th, 2015
III Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy
Applications now being accepted for Fall 2015
IV Faculty Spotlight: Robert Allen, Undergraduate Program Director of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID)
A continuing series on teaching excellence at Homewood
V Tips for Teaching: Flipping Your Classroom
A free manual from the Chronicle of Higher Education
VI Blackboard's Grader App for iOS
Grade Assignments on the Go
VII Hopkins Research Network for High Speed Data Transfer
Enhanced network greatly increases the ability to transfer large data sets throughout the institution
VIII Homewood Classroom Updates
Upcoming changes to Gilman Hall
IX BorrowDirect now in Catalyst and WorldCat
Formerly a standalone service, BorrowDirect is now integrated into the places you already search for materials
I URD to Showcase Undergraduate ResearchThe inaugural Undergraduate Research Day (URD) is set for Thursday, April 16, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreational Center on the Homewood campus. See the URD website for more information. The event is designed to help undergraduates from all over the campus to present their research through a poster session aimed at faculty, staff, fellow students, and prospective students of the Class of 2019. It coincides with SOHOP, the Spring Open House and Overnight Program, when admitted high school seniors visit campus with their parents. Anticipating a large audience, CER will hold its annual Technology Fellowship Showcase in conjunction with the URD at the O'Connor Recreational Center.
II Summer Teaching InstituteLed by experienced Johns Hopkins faculty and focused on doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who plan to teach this coming summer or next academic year, a three-day Summer Teaching Institute will address common principles and challenges in teaching at the post-secondary level. Through faculty presentations and group work, participants will learn about pedagogical innovations and research in undergraduate education. Summer Teaching Institute Faculty will share teaching methods that align with instructional objectives and engage students in active problem-solving and discussion. Teaching artifacts developed during the Institute become part of participants' teaching portfolios. To view a more program detail, please click here. We are currently at capacity. To add your name to the waitlist, please click here. Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
III Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy Fall 2015The Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy (PFF TA) seeks doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows from across Johns Hopkins who wish to acquire instructional skills for academic careers that will involve teaching. Students should be in or beyond their second year of doctoral work. Through this initiative, participants will obtain an overview of pedagogy, explore different educational models, acquire teaching and assessment skills, and work with faculty teaching mentors in a classroom, online course, or laboratory environment. Applications for the Teaching Academy are now being accepted. If you know of graduate students or postdocs who may be interested in this program, please have them apply by going to the Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy website application page. The program is a supplementary professional development activity that should complement, not detract from, participants' research obligations. To ensure that, students and postdocs are asked to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) form signed by their research advisor along with their application. Applications are accepted through August 1st, 2015.
IV Faculty Spotlight: Robert Allen, Undergraduate Program Director of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID)CER: Please describe the Design Team course.
BA: The BME Modeling and Design course groups students into teams of five in the Fall and eight in the Spring; teams then solve real-world medical design problems submitted by clients or sponsors. The course spans both fall and spring semester, using a 30 week syllabus. I tell students you will spend more time on this course than you thought you would and still have fun.
CER: How is it different from the traditional course?
BA: Every accredited engineering department in the country must have a capstone experience. These courses integrate all the fundamental information students have learned as undergraduates to address an authentic problem. The norm is to offer this course in the senior year. In BME we offer students four ways to meet this requirement and about half do so by taking the Design Team set of courses. They are project-based courses like the others, but they are different for several reasons. They are hierarchical - there is a leader or two co-leaders. The leaders are usually seniors, but advanced juniors with promising leadership skills can apply. Two juniors have led two teams in the past year. In addition to the leader, there are four additional upperclassman (three upperclassmen in the case of co-leaders) assigned to a team and up to three freshmen can apply to join the team in the spring semester. This year over 90 freshmen applicants applied for 36 slots. Another unusual aspect of this program is that students can take the course more than once. A freshmen can apply as a junior or senior to be a team leader.
CER: How do you select leaders?
BA: They apply online in the spring. We evaluate them on their GPA, focus area, prior design experience, motivation for the position, and their goals. It's competitive. We had 38 applicants this year. We interviewed about 75% of those, and we have identified 14 leaders. Normally we choose 12, but we have a larger group this year.
CER: How do you train the leaders?
BA: Training starts after we identify the leaders for the next academic year. We meet informally at the end of the spring term to prepare for the following year's projects. During the academic year in which they are leading a team, we get together weekly for a breakfast meeting. We might work through a design process, role play a scenario, or discuss leadership topics. Student leaders can also raise issues they are dealing with on their teams. However, they are communicating with me throughout the week about their projects. Through the training they learn project management skills, how to develop a vision, how to deal with certain unexpected situations (such as a team member dropping the course, or worse, staying in the course, but not doing any work), and how to communicate with a physician including what to do when they don't respond right away. It's important for them to learn the boundaries of what they can ask for. I'm developing a handbook this summer as an additional resource for the leaders.
CER: How do you match students with projects?
BA: Students pick their projects, but I and others work all year to find sponsors. Students work on real clinical problems. Sponsors include private companies, School of Medicine faculty, and doctors at local hospitals. This year's distribution includes two projects from JHPIEGO that address global health projects with mobile technology. One team is sponsored by Union Memorial and another by a private doctor. The rest are from the School of Medicine.
CER: How important is the classroom space to facilitating the course goals?
BA: We have a new space this year. It is a greatly improved. We went from 200 to 2,000 square feet. Students have tall tables around which teams of eight can comfortably sit. Everything is on wheels so we can configure the room to suit team needs. We have writeable walls. Students can even write on the cabinets. A wet lab is nearby so they can perform dissections. All the fabrication supplies are in sight. Students don't have to go elsewhere. The room includes 3-D printers. These resources allow students to begin prototyping designs very early in the process. Another important addition is the hiring of the Design Studio director, Elizabeth Logsdon. She is a huge resource for students. She helps any student who needs support, gives access to the room, defines rules for the design studio, interacts with other departments, and interfaces between students and TAs when needed.
CER: How are students assessed in the course?
BA: I tell students you can fail and still get an A in this course. The goal of every project is to have a functional prototype. More important, however, we want them to work through the design process. They are graded on their final reports, in which they explain their design processes and why the final products worked or not. A classic example is a team 2-3 years ago that was trying to design a point-of-care malaria test for the developing world - a very difficult technical problem. They weren't able to get it to work. but they were the quintessential team. They shared the workload, communicated their difficulties, and talked to others experts as needed. They got As in the course. The reality is that most projects don't meet the goals they define for themselves at the beginning of the year because students classically overestimate what they can accomplish in a year. However, most projects reach a state of functionality. Our hit rate is about 1/3. Approximately four projects per year have an afterlife. The teams work with JH Tech Ventures after the course ends or continue to work with their sponsor organization. Currently, two project teams are continuing to work with JHPIEGO. We want to see our teams persevere. I tell students, "Every problem you work on has been solved by someone else. Use that to your advantage." A paper came out last fall describing a solution to predicting pre-term labor. A team working on this issue was devastated. I told them, "Think outside the box! This solution required conducting an ultrasound on women. Think of a less invasive way of doing this." They are working on an improved, office-based solution.
CER: It sounds like you need more than material resources to support this course.
BA: I'm the course instructor and give grades, but there are many other resources brought to bear to provide students technical support and to evaluate them. Again, Elizabeth Logsdon has been a great addition to the course. The good will of the CBID faculty and staff in particular, faculty in general and clinicians who sponsor projects is crucial to the success of the course. We also recruit expert panels to evaluate the designs.
CER: Who comprises these panels?
BA: I recruit the expert panel members from industry, the biomedical engineering department, the School of Medicine, and other engineering departments
CER: Anything else?
BA: We will host our design day competition on May 5th. Anyone from the university is welcome to join us (More information: BME Design Day Flyer (pdf)).