Circulation system & hemodynamics is one of the advanced topics in an undergraduate mechanical engineering course on bioengineering applications. It studies the dynamics of blood flow which is directly related to fluid mechanics. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject poses multiple challenges in teaching and learning. Often times, students are unfamiliar with the medical context of the human circulatory system and the pathological/activity states. They have little or no experience working with the pulsatile flow (heartbeat), soft pipes (blood vessels), and one-way valves (circulation system).
To address these challenges, an interactive simulation model supplemented with scenario-based problems has been developed to teach the circulation system & hemodynamics and cardiac assist devices. Simulation has been shown to be an effective method for students to acquire knowledge and conceptual understanding of sophisticated systems. In this study, the model allows students to simulate a range of physiological conditions, study cardiac parameters, and understand the conditions for and benefits of using cardiac assist device interventions.
The effectiveness of the simulation was assessed by asking students to solve a scenario-based problem and answering survey questions. The data from problem solutions indicate that after one 75-minute class, students are able to understand the mechanism of the human circulation system and the value of using cardiac assist devices. Student feedback to the survey rate the simulation model very positive in helping them understand human circulation and the proper use of a cardiac assist device.
Qi Dunsworth is the Director of Teaching Initiatives at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. She holds a master's degree in Communication Studies and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. At Behrend, she supports faculty in classroom teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has created a series of faculty teaching workshops and is the recipient of several grants for course revision, educational research, and professional development.
Ben Murphy was a Mechanical Engineering student and research assistant at the Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. His research at Behrend was focused on developing a Graphic User Interface for the Circulation and Hemodynamics simulation and enhancing its capabilities based on personal experience and user feedback.
Yi Wu is currently a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, Erie, the Behrend College. She received Ph.D. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia. Her current research interests include modeling of complex physiological systems, drug design, dynamics and control, and engineering education.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper? Visit the ASEE document repository at peer.asee.org for more tools and easy citations.