Behind the Scenes of a Flipped Classroom Course Redesign: Part IV

Editor’s Note: The following post is the fourth 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 Dylan M. Glatt, Graduate Research Assistant. Dylan was the teaching assistant to the Basic Pharmaceutics II course during the time of the redesign (Spring 2012 and Spring 2013).

During my first meeting in my role as teaching assistant with Dr. Mumper, he described his plan to execute out a new course design for the Basic Pharmaceutics II course. We spent time dissecting his carefully crafted syllabus and how we would measure success or failure in this pilot study. There were risks, he said, but there were also rewards. In the end, our efforts yielded clear and overwhelming positive results. Classroom time was the most active, engaging, and vibrant that I had ever seen. Students constantly asked thoughtful and meaningful questions, and most notably this classroom redesign proved to be incredibly engaging for our students participating from satellite campuses via video technology. In my educational and professional career, I have never experienced anything like that before, especially in a classroom of more than 150 students.

Even more profound was my experience during my weekly office hours. In Fall 2011, I was the TA of these same students in the lecture-based Basic Pharmaceutics I course, where I was asked primarily content-related questions. However, in the new format, my role changed from teacher to facilitator. We spent office hours extending and exploring concepts and ideas outside of those introduced in class. For example, students engaged in discussion with me about recently published journal articles or my own research on antibody-drug conjugates.

The flipped classroom was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I could have asked for as a teaching assistant. Not only do I believe that the students learned more content at an accelerated pace, but that they also challenged me to think more deeply and critically about the science we were teaching.

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One Comment

  1. Kemi
    January 10, 2014 at 4:33 AM

    Sounds like a great experience. It would be nice if more health professions institutions allowed more people to engage in such experiences in revamping the curriculum. Students, faculty, and the patient population would benefit. When I started to learn more public speaking, it was about overcoming fears of speaking, enough to share what’s on my mind. Some lecturers are in this phase. But as my years in public speaking progressed, I shifted from the need to share what is on my mind to actually communicating what my audience needs to hear, to learn, to know, to do, etc. I shifted from “I need to make sure I say this” to “I need to make sure they understand this,” because people are diverse in how they view the world, and communication is about the recipient. This is the part where lecturers and other educators should address, if time in the classroom is meant to be valuable.

    I definitely valued my opportunities as group facilitator for problem based learning groups, Bible study groups, and other groups where group dynamics affects the learning process. Anytime I teach or facilitate I learn so much more of the material because it is active learning. It is interesting to see what students do to contribute and the interesting references they contribute to the discussion.

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