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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

A Complex Systems Approach to Professional Skills Assessment in Education

Heike Sichtig
Bioengineering, SUNY Binghamton

Craig Laramee
Bioengineering, SUNY Binghamton

Hiroki Sayama
Bioengineering, SUNY Binghamton

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: March 31, 2006

Abstract
The 21st century predicts necessary changes in our educational system that still mainly focuses on the industrial era approach to quality control. Currently, many companies have to invest much money and time to detrain engineering graduates, in order to start training them. This is due to the rigid education system that still uses traditional teaching methods and standardized assessment of students. Students should be evaluated based on their individual abilities, including attitudes, problem solving skills, creativity, cultural issues, leadership, team skills and the ability of decision making. Our goal is to develop a non-traditional assessment platform to examine the development of professional skills within the Bioengineering program at Binghamton University. The assessment tool will be a measure for innovative teaching approaches of our faculty, such as active learning, collaborative learning and problem based learning. Complex systems ideas and evolutionary theory will be integral parts in developing the questionnaires and simulations for the platform. Responses to survey questions and performance in a variety of simulations will be used to track students throughout the program. The platform consists of Dell Pocket PCs that wirelessly connect to a server that hosts the assessment tool. To validate the significance of the project, we will test the platform using control groups. We will include freshman-graduate level students from Bioengineering, Management, Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University to compare the Bioengineering students to students from other disciplines. There will also be a paper based version to eliminate advantages in computer literacy. The results can be used to compare student knowledge and help faculty find their optimal teaching approaches. In the future, our goal is to involve as many companies as possible to identify critical gaps in the preparation of engineering students. Furthermore, the assessment tool will be employed in the evaluation process of our newly established Bioengineering program.




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