Course Title: BIOEN 410, Bioengineering Honors Seminar

AUT 2010

Instructor:  Kelli Jayn Nichols

Office hours:  Foege N107H, by appointment M-F 9-12 and 1-4


 UW General Catalog Description: Seminar for seniors completing departmental Honors.

 Prerequisites: Senior standing in Bioengineering; completed nomination to Bioengineering Departmental Honors; no course pre-requisites.

 Course content: In BIOEN 410, departmental Honors students will discuss the nature of successful service projects, identify needs for engineering and pre-engineering students that might be addressed through service projects, and, in groups or singly, propose service projects that support the Bioengineering community, larger engineering community, or prospective students. Though the honors seminar focuses on the project proposal, students must also complete their proposed projects and an evaluation and personal reflection prior to graduation to receive departmental honors.

Students are free to create and propose any project that meets the stated criteria. Some examples of past services to the department that would have been acceptable honors projects include:

  • A BIOE research fair, targeted at pre-majors and BIOE freshmen and sophomores;
  • A workshop on successful scholarship applications, with examples of successful applications and other resources posted to a protected website;
  • Active participation in a curriculum reform task force.

To avoid any duplication with BIOEN 497, projects for BIOEN 410 may not include K-12 outreach but may include outreach to college students.

Students are allowed to work singly but are encouraged to work in pairs or small groups of 3 (max. 4 for a large project).

Please note that BIOEN 410 is one piece of the departmental honors requirement. To complete departmental honors, the following are required:

  • Keep a 3.6 departmental (BIOE-prefixed) GPA at time of nomination and graduation;
  • Complete BIOEN 410 for credit;
  • Successfully carry out the project proposed for 410 prior to graduation; post an evaluation, including suggestions for improvement, to the BIOEN 410 Catalyst course website;
  • Post a personal reflection describing what was learned from the project and how it ties in to the overall educational experience at UW. The latter ensures that students who complete only departmental honors satisfy the intention of the Honors Program that honors students reflect on the integration of service and learning.

The department’s Academic Counselor will mark honors complete in DARS when the project has been carried out and the evaluation and reflection are posted.

Course structure: The seminar will begin with an honors reception, featuring a faculty speaker and discussion. Rather than meeting for weekly classes, we will have a set of scheduled longer meetings in the first half of the quarter. In between those scheduled sessions students will meet in their project groups to complete the proposal. Meeting notes and drafts will be posted to the course website. The last scheduled group meeting will be for peer critique. Required coursework is designed to be completed in the first half of the quarter to allow as much time as possible to schedule and carry out the service projects.

The course syllabus, schedule, and readings will be available on  the course website. The Assignments section will include all assignments, project criteria, and guidelines for peer critiques and project evaluation. Project proposals, brief written critiques, and revised proposals will be posted on the website. When projects have been completed, students will return to the course website to post an evaluation and reflection, as described above.

Course readings: There is no required text, but short readings may be introduced to stimulate discussion.

Students should familiarize themselves with these web resources on service learning in engineering:

Other resources will be introduced as appropriate.

Learning Objectives: By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Articulate the difference between service and service learning.
  • Identify needs for engineering and pre-engineering students that could be met via a service project.
  • Design and plan a service project to address one of these needs.
  • Identify and describe objectives related to the proposed service project.
  • Understand how to evaluate a project in light of the project objectives.
  • Be able to offer constructive peer critique.
  • Know where to find web-based and University resources for engineering service learning.

Course grading: CR/NC. Credit is earned following satisfactory completion of an initial and revised proposal and participation in class discussions. There will be a peer grading exercise to evaluate the level of contribution by each student to group proposals. Class participation will be evaluated based on contribution to small group and/or large group discussion.

Lesson plan

Week, date, time Type of meeting Discussion topics Assignments
Week 1October 4, 2010,6:30 – 9:30 p.m.Home of Mike Regnier Session 1: Honors reception, faculty speaker, followed by class intro and discussion3 hours Good service and service learning experiences Review selected links in syllabus about Engineering Service Learning.By noon October 12, post to discussion board Questions 1-4.
Week 2Tuesday, October 126:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Session 2: All-class meeting1.5 hours Service vs. service learning; identifying needs; brainstorming solutions By October 18, form project groups; determine project and post rough sketch to class website; prepare short class presentation
Week 4Wednesday October 202:00 – 3:30 p.m. Session 3: All-class meeting1.5 hours Groups present ideas; discussions, Q&A, suggestions. This is our Quality Control meeting! By October 29th,Write project proposal draft submit via Collect It dropbox. Also post draft to discussion board.
Weeks 4-5Meet with KJN to review your draft by Nov. 3 Session 4: Project group meetings with KJN1 hour With KJN review drafts; make suggestions By Friday Nov. 5, Written peer-critique of other groups’ projects
Weesk 5-6 On-line discussion and outside group work Peer critiques of projects; finalize proposals. Revise proposal; Submit final proposal; by Nov 10 via Collect It.Peer grading exercise due by Nov. 15.

Assignments and grading:  Assignments deadlines are listed in the class schedule, above; all assignments will be posted in a more detailed fashion under the Assignments section of the course website.

This is a CR/NC course. In this course CR will mean a “C” or better, or 70+% of the points. There are 200 total points available.

Assignment summary:

  • Class participation: class discussions and on-line discussions (50 points)
  • Project proposal (group assignment) (40 points)
  • Peer critique of proposals (individual assignment, on-line) (10 points)
  • Final project proposal (group assignment) (80 points)
  • Peer grading exercise (20 points)

The catalyst Assignment drop-box is at You can get to it from the course website under Catalyst Tools. Please use this to turn in proposal drafts, final proposals, and individual project evaluations.

The URL for Go-post (on-line discussions) is You can get to this in the course website under Catalyst Tools. You are invited to converse on line, open new conversations, suggest new resources, etc.

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