Editor’s Note: The following post is the first part of a series on “The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School.” We asked a few of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty and student participants to share their perspectives on the experience. You can read the rest of the posts in the series here.
By Russell J. Mumper, PhD, John A. McNeill Distinguished Professor and Vice Dean. Dr. Mumper was the course coordinator and primary teacher of the Basic Pharmaceutics II course.
The response to our paper and findings in the February issue of Academic Medicine has been remarkable and personally very rewarding. It is clear that many are thinking of effective and efficient strategies to increase student learning. I feel fortunate to be in an environment that supports and facilitates what we were able to do.
Since the publication, we have received many comments about the 5 percent increase in student performance from 2011 (lecture-based class) to 2013 (second year of the flipped class). However, more important to me than students’ performance in the semester-long course was how the students perceived that I helped them prepare to become life-long learners and problem solvers in the subject matter of the course. Truly, I did not aspire that they master the subject matter in 14 weeks but that they become inspired to stay current in the subject throughout their careers and apply their unique knowledge and skills of dosage forms and drug delivery systems to patient care.
In a larger sense, the entire experience of flipping the classroom, from design to implementation to assessment, has been one of the most profound educational experiences of my career. For me, it was a collective “aha” experience where I finally realized that for years I had it all wrong. Never before had I engaged with students in the manner in which this course provided and demanded. It was an incredibly rewarding experience. I will never return to the traditional lecture format as I feel that this would be cheating both the students and me. Related, this flipped classroom experience reinforces to me the potential value of the engagement between research-intensive instructors and students within a research-intensive university.