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Adventures in Flipping the Teaching: A bioethical example

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Slides from a presentation given at the AdvanceHE STEM Teaching and Learning Conference in January 2019. The talk is a warts and all description of a four year journey trying to develop flipped lectures for teaching core bioethics to second year undergraduates at the University of Leicester, UK

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Adventures in Flipping the Teaching: A bioethical example

  1. 1. Adventures in Flipping theTeaching: A bioethical example Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology University of Leicester, UK cjrw2@le.ac.uk STEMTeaching & Learning Conference 2019
  2. 2. Overview • What is “flipped teaching”? • Context: Bioethics in Yr 2 • Why have I adopted a “flipped” approach? • What advice do I have for anyone considering adopting a flipped model?
  3. 3. Terminology • Flipped learning: “Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which the conventional notion of classroom-based learning is inverted, so that students are introduced to the learning material before class, with classroom time then being used to deepen understanding through discussion with peers and problem-solving activities facilitated by teachers.” AdvanceHE https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/flipped-learning-0
  4. 4. Terminology
  5. 5. QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Biosciences Three editions: 2002, 2007, 2015 Ethical implications of discipline have been prominent in all three versions Context: QAA Benchmark
  6. 6. Evolution ofYr2 Bioethics A cautionary tale A work in progress
  7. 7. Evolution ofYr2 Bioethics • BS2060 Research Skills (2004-2014) - 7 lectures: Introduction to ethics 6 themed – PGD, gene therapy, etc - Assessment (from 2009) “Headline Bioethics” Analysis of bioethical news story 25% of module mark - Bioethics consistently most popular component of the module (“stimulated interest” 4.32 out of 5 in 2011-12)
  8. 8. Evolution ofYr2 Bioethics 2014 – major overhaul of Yr2 curriculum • Redesign of delivery and assessment • Research Skills replaced by Research Topic • Major assignment – students work in groups to write research grant proposal • Consequential changes to bioethics component - fewer lectures - loss of Headline Bioethics task - lecture content altered to fit grant writing task • Opportunity to introduce some case studies
  9. 9. Why ethics case studies? • Case-based teaching promotes*: - Engagement with topic - Higher-level skills, e.g. critical thinking empathy • Appropriate medium for debate about controversial issues with legitimate divergence of viewpoint * e.g. Yadav et al, 2007
  10. 10. Evolution ofYr2 Bioethics • BS2000 Research Topic (first time 2014) - 4 lectures: Introduction 3 instrumentalist (inc practicalities) - Working with humans - Working with animals - Working with GMOs - Case studies in tutorial (2 hrs) - Assessment “Research Proposal” 5% of 60% of module (= 3%)
  11. 11. Cases in BS2000 • 8 (semi-)fictional cases prepared for 2 hr tutorial • Students given week to prepare • Tutors given guidance notes
  12. 12. Feedback 2014 • n= 279 • total of 12 out of 116 comments mentioned ethics • Lectures generally well received (if mentioned) • Some students unhappy with group discussion time being “wasted” on bioethics scenarios • Some staff uncomfortable with ethics teaching
  13. 13. Redesign 2015 • Pre-record lectures (using new lecture capture software) and release online - free up tutorial slots - move case studies to “lecture slot” • Introductory lecture retained • Other lectures (working with humans, animals and GMOs) delivered as series of shorter videos via VLE • Case studies in lectures 2&3 (4th lecture dropped)
  14. 14. Flipped lectures • e.g. Research involving humans • 5 lectures – 57 mins total
  15. 15. Flipped lectures
  16. 16. Lectures (n=311) Live lectures & Case discussions also recorded Attendance at lectures monitored • Lectures ~ 40% (n >120) absent, inc. from lecture 1 • Lecture recordings video watched by max 20 students (>7%) lectures 2 & 3 watched by n=4
  17. 17. Flipped lectures (n=311) Research involving human subjects Duration Watched any Watched >50% 1: Misconduct 8:34 70 (23%) 58 2: Codes of conduct 7:24 52 (17%) 41 3: UK legislation 23:53 43 (14%) 27 4: Local procedures 11:06 37 (12%) 28 5: Principlism 6:20 28 (9%) 26 • e.g. Research involving human subjects
  18. 18. Feedback 2015(a) • n = 311 • questionnaire format STOP – START – CONTINUE • total of 23 comments re ethics • Lectures: - “I found the ethics lectures very interesting” - “Ethics lectures really helped when writing the research proposal” - “[Continue] bioethics lectures as they are really interesting and can be useful in the future” - “The case study lectures were really interesting”
  19. 19. Feedback 2015(b) • Lectures: - “Ethics lectures still seemed rather pointless as they did not (and could not really) relate to our particular topic” - “They were interesting but as they didn’t count they were not a priority” - “Less time spent on ethics didn’t reflect marks for it on project” - “The bioethics lectures could be cut shorter” - “Sort out the bioethics lectures properly”
  20. 20. Interim conclusions • Panopto is excellent tool for preparing flipped lectures • But… pre-recording lectures is time consuming (the first time through) – planning script, recording, re-recording and editing • You can’t please everyone all of the time • Assessment “carrot” still main driver of student engagement
  21. 21. Changes in 2016 • Altered scheduling 2015: Intro – Cases 1 – gap – Cases 2 2016: Intro – gap – Cases 1 – Cases 2 • Doubled weighting for ethics component of Research Proposal assignment (10% of 60% = 6%) With increase from 500 to 1000 words. • Blackboard quiz (formative) to encourage viewing of flipped videos
  22. 22. Feedback in 2016 (Students) • Open text question in formative quiz • Emerging themes: - duration v number - sound quality - time commitment & priorities - additional formats
  23. 23. Feedback in 2016 (Staff) • It was noted that students had watched fewer videos (using Panopto data) than they claimed (in the formative quiz) • Academic staff felt the increase 500 to 1000 words for ethics component had led to more waffle not valuable content
  24. 24. Changes in 2017 • Ethics component kept at 6% of mark, but format altered to be in style of ethics application form • Additional video to explain the ethics form • Several videos altered: - 2 videos (Humans 1 and Humans 2) re-recorded to remove irritating buzz, 1 intentionally left unaltered - Music track added to two videos (Animals 5 and GMO 3)
  25. 25. Summary so far… • Bioethics in core Research Topic module for all Yr 2 Bioscientists. Team-based assessment involves students completing grant proposal, including ethics form • QAA benchmarking statements include expectation that all students have basic understanding of bioethics issues • By 2017 there are total of 15 online videos (duration 3:30 to 23:30 mins) replacing 3 previous F2F lectures • Formative online quiz
  26. 26. Not so flipping easy? What factors influence engagement?  Focus group (n=5)
  27. 27. Conclusions (thus far) • Limited engagement (despite refinements) is disappointing • Students are strategic - intention that 100% would watch all videos - reality = allocated roles within team = only watched videos re their topic • Students are motivated by assessments - only engaged with “relevant” videos - saw formative quiz as focus rather than aid
  28. 28. Conclusions (thus far) • Opinion split on Case studies - Focus group generally liked them - Several negative comments in module feedback • Expectation management - Why are we teaching in this way? - Advice on how to make most of videos - Reasons for case study discussions • Several comments ~ “there was more than one lecture’s worth of material online” • 2019 (next week) will reintroduce the 4th lecture, use time to explain some of the above
  29. 29. Considerations for flipped teaching • Incentivisation? WIIFM? • What activity will require students to watch? • Fewer, longer videos v More, shorter videos? • Additional resources (e.g. transcripts)? • Delivery schedule Regular release v Glut? (stagger release over time, even if ready) • Sound quality and format - animation? (VideoScribe? Investment) - on screen appearance?
  30. 30. Acknowledgements • Matt Mobbs • Gemma Mitchell • Alan Cann • David Bridgwood • University Teaching Excellence Project Fund
  31. 31. E-mail: cjrw2@le.ac.uk Twitter: cjrw Slideshare: cjrw2 Blogs: www.bioethicsbytes.wordpress.com www.biologyonthebox.wordpress.com www.biosciencecareers.wordpress.com www.lefthandedbiochemist.wordpress.com Thank you Any questions?

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