Michelle Grimm

Interactive Digital Experience as an Alternative Laboratory (IDEAL): Creative Investigation with Data Analysis

Within a flipped classroom, students will analyze musculoskeletal biomechanics data to solve challenge problems. Students will make multiple branching decisions — accessing scenarios, videos, and data based on their choices. This will be assessed for improved learning and as a foundation for laboratory-like, active learning experiences within large or online courses.

Project Solution:

Active learning improves student understanding and retention of material. In engineering, active learning may occurring laboratory units, but this is often not feasible for large classes, online classes, or students with a range of abilities and learning styles. The aim of this proposal is to develop and assess an interactive, student-led challenge as a foundation for future implementation of laboratory-like, active learning units within large or online courses. The interactive module we will develop is inspired by “Interactive Fiction,” where students make multiple, branching decisions — accessing scenarios, videos, and data based on their choices. Students will examine details, synthesize concepts, and analyze data of challenge problems within ME 495 – Tissue Biomechanics. The students will individually investigate and explore, based on personal interest and preference. Depending on the choices made throughout the scenarios, students will be analyzing individualized data. This will allow students to collaborate on data analysis techniques and problem-solve together, while requiring them to focus on their individual data. One example scenario is for students to conduct a forensic biomechanics investigation of an individual who suffered a musculoskeletal injury. Depending on the questions that each student asks, and the ways in which they choose to collect data, students will be provided with a data set that will be used to determine potential injury mechanisms. Learning will be assessed through project reports, performance on subsequent exam questions, and comparison to more traditional teaching methodologies. Engagement and participation will also be assessed and compared to more traditional group challenge problems.

The developed interactive modules will be accessible (closed-captioning, figure and video alternative text) to support student participation regardless of impairment or learning style, with these features provided at no additional cost to the students. The equipment and techniques used to collect the data will be explained in multiple ways, dependent on student’s individual choices, as they navigate through the unit. Students can progress at their own pace, with the ability to pause and re-watch content for further comprehension and note-taking. This also removes a time constraint for completing activities, unlike the scheduling requirements of a traditional laboratory unit. With students taking the lead, the aim is to foster creativity and increase motivation as they experience how the concepts learned throughout the course apply to real world scenarios. Our long-term goal is for the developed structure to facilitate the implementation of new, interactive units within the mechanical and biomedical engineering curricula. This would provide both on-campus and online students access to active-learning opportunities within classes where a laboratory component is too expensive or difficult to coordinate. The video equipment would be available for implementing new units in other courses. This would increase access to experiential laboratory learning environments for students within large or online courses. The accessibility options selected and the time spent on the units will be tracked. Students will also be given post-course surveys asking about: 1) the accessibility options; and 2) the overall design of the modules. This will support improvement of future iterations of these IDEAL activities.

Learn more about Michelle Grimm (https://www.egr.msu.edu/people/profile/mgrimm)