The Biomechanics of Human Movement Laboratory Curriculum project is creating new learning materials and software based tools for use in undergraduate programs in kinesiology, exercise science, pre-physical therapy and related areas. The curriculum, itself, is embodied in a series of software-based laboratory exercises custom written to adapt to student input. This laboratory curriculum is tied to an existing Biomechanics of Human Movement textbook and Kinematic Analysis (KA) biomechanics research software. At the conclusion of the project, the software for a complete biomechanics curriculum (including a textbook, a biomechanics research software suite and a custom developed laboratory curriculum) will be available to all interested educational institutions through a zero-dollar, unlimited-term, university / student home use license agreement. This will enable broad distribution of the materials to students on a DVD-R disks.
The laboratory curriculum includes software-based lessons that reinforce student learning for the primary learning objectives associated with the existing course and textbook. In addition, students develop research data analysis skills through scripted ?mini-research? exercises tied to the KA software. The laboratory exercise software employs conditional branch content sequencing, an approach that improves the learning experience for all students by manipulating the presentation of content materials in response to student input. For example, as part of any given laboratory exercise, students read the laboratory content materials and respond to questions as they interact with the software. Student understanding of the various portions of the exercise is then dynamically evaluated within the software by analyzing the percentage of correct scores, the types of incorrect responses and the time duration between responses. Students that score well are given (via software manipulations) advanced sections for the laboratory exercise. Students that score poorly are given supplementary foundation materials to better prepare them for the moderately difficult materials that will follow. Students that perform at the expected level experience the ?normal? sequence of course materials. In effect, the software based laboratory exercises adapts the details of the laboratory curriculum to meet the needs of the individual student. All measures of student performance are stored on students? local computers and later collected over the laboratory?s local area network for use by the instructor and by the researchers.
The new curriculum materials can be used in undergraduate education for multiple fields include kinesiology, exercise science and pre-physical therapy, and, when fully developed, will be available for dissemination through zero-dollar license agreements. Where adopted, the curriculum will involve students in video-based biomechanical research as the software transforms a ?normal? personal computer into a video analysis workstation. Currently, the high cost and steep learning curves of commercially produced motion analysis software is stifling the growth of undergraduate student research in biomechanics and limiting the extent of their preparation for graduate study and professional opportunities. This project?s research software, coupled with the practical and theoretical foundation provided by the textbook and laboratory curriculum, removes these barriers.