25 ISSUE TWO Because QS combines miniaturization, biomedical testing technology, social media, and interest in personal improvement, it is ideal for applying active, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and problem-based pedagogical techniques. “Teaching QS requires technical instruction in human physiology and sensors, computer science and software development, networking, data analysis, and visualization,” says Meyer. “But it also provides rich discussion opportunities for non- technical issues such as privacy, medical ethics, regulations, intellectual property, social issues, and marketing.” The field is highly accessible to students – many carry QS technology in their pockets, Nasir notes. That familiarity makes it easier for students to practice the market-based skill of opportunity recognition. Building on this foundation will help students foster the entrepreneurial skills necessary for more advanced projects. Meyer and Nasir initially intended to modify one or two courses to instill the entrepreneurial mindset. “But then we realized the modules could be incorporated throughout the course sequence, even from the earliest introductory course, to ramp up students’ entrepreneurial skills year-by-year in preparation for the meaty projects of their later courses,” Meyer says. The movement from a simple course upgrade to a program-wide application started with a conversation among biomedical engineering faculty when preparing for ABET accreditation. The staff realized the focus of their program favored narrow research at the expense of design – so much so that some students’ first foray into open- ended engineering was in their senior capstone course. “It’s sort of unfair to expose students to that for the first time in their senior project,” says Nasir. “We decided we needed to do more to promote engineering design and give our students opportunities throughout the program to gain experience and broaden their thinking,” Meyer adds. “Our experience showed us that most of our students are initially uncomfortable with assignments and projects that are completely open-ended. If we can help by giving them a target and some familiar, real-world examples, some of their trepidation can be alleviated.” When handed open-ended projects, students tend to design a device or system from scratch, says Nasir. If they find their idea has flaws or that others are working on a similar concept, they view it as a failure. “But in the real world this happens all the time,” he says. “Engineers revisit old devices, repeat what others in the industry are working on, and sometimes find their idea doesn’t work as hoped. These are all steps in developing better products. “The first thing you have to get students to realize is that in the real world, problems don’t present themselves where ‘here is the problem, here is the answer,’” he adds. “In many cases the problems aren’t obvious, and the answers are many.” Now the entrepreneurial approach is being woven throughout the biomedical engineering program. “We have embraced the KEEN belief that entrepreneurship is a mindset and that the entrepreneurial process can be formalized,” Meyer says. “We are modifying courses across the curriculum to train students to stop thinking only like an engineer or scientist and start thinking like a product developer.” Continued on page 36 DEVICE DESIGN BME 4113 BEST PRACTICES BME 3002 FUNDAMENTALS EGE 1001 SOPHOMORE STUDIO CLASS CONNECTIONS