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New Jersey Institute of Technology pioneers new way to teach engineers

In Professor Richard Foulds' freshman design class, students perform angioplasty on pasta, amniocentesis on jelly donuts and surgery on hot dogs.

Foulds, along with other professors at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), is pioneering a new way to educate engineers. Professors who use the method, called studio learning, demonstrate the fundamentals of engineering not by lecture and recitation but by active, hands-on, experiment-based learning.

"Our students love studio learning, which has caused enrollment in the biomedical department to mushroom," says Foulds, PhD, an associate professor of biomedical engineering who shepherded the studio method to NJIT. "You will never see students, in my studio classes, asleep in the back of the room. You'll see their faces lit up with curiosity, inquiry and an active desire to learn."

Foulds was so happy with the results of implementing the teaching method at NJIT that he, along with two colleagues, published a paper, "Integrated Biomedical Engineering Education Using Studio-Based Learning," in the August 2003 issue of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine.

And those who benefit most from the new teaching method are the students.

"The studio method is a much more intriguing way to learn," said Dennis Den Hollander, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering. "It is hands-on learning, and it shows you the process engineers go through when they're designing something. It's a much more active way to learn. You learn not because a professor tells you, or lectures you, about something. You learn because you find answers by trial and error, by experimenting."

Foulds received three grants to pursue the project. The Whitaker Foundation provided a $30,000 grant to plan the studio concept. The National Science Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to develop studio courses, including the robot surgery class. And the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education funded the p
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Contact: Robert Florida
florida@njit.edu
973-596-5203
New Jersey Institute of Technology
22-Nov-2004


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