Setting up Interactive courses

This semester I am setting up my courses to be taught using the flipped classroom approach. I have heard a lot of good things about the flipped classroom approach. This is one where all course materials and video lectures are uploaded ahead of time and class periods are reserved for highly active engagements and discussion on the topics taught. I am converting a course on environmental health to that format. I am also bringing in Medium blogs on the topic that I shall write for this class and additional gamification as a strategy to teach this class. Here in this little blog I am going to describe the changes that I have in the processes.

The first change was to transform the existing Moodle site to redesign it to reflect a clean and dynamic look. The main site will only contain links to essential parts of the course. The students should be able to access all parts of the course using only a web browser. This means I am not going to use PDFs, word, PowerPoint slide decks on the site for which they will need specified software to be installed to read the files. I have also changed theUX of the site to reflect similar fonts everywhere and similar structure. I have kept the class videos on YouTube playlist and the lecture notes on a medium blog. The references are kept at the citeulike group. I have used Moodle’s native quiz and forums for building interactivity and will use Lego blocks and other tools for active learning strategies.

It is never easy to set up courses when they are team taught as different team members have different styles of approaching the same subject. This year, my own style will be:

  • Start with videos of the topics that I will teach
  • Write the course or lecture notes here in Medium
  • Use the class period of discussions, reflections, and activities
  • Spend the rest of the week (each topic requires about 10 hours of study a week) to discuss online and on social media

Active Learning Strategies

Every week, the students will be sent an email containing the class engagement strategies in the format of a meeting schedule. In the class meeting we shall discuss briefly the high impact points relevant to the topic and then the students and I will engage in discussions on the five pre identified questions relevant to the topic. We shall also build models and hear from domain experts and researchers frequently.

Assessments and gaming strategies

For assessment the students need to take periodic tests in the form of multiple choice exam quizzes and write a term paper that is based on the format of a research proposal. In addition the students will also gain additional points for each time they will actively engage with some aspect of the course for instance highlighting and commenting on a medium passage, or writing in the forum, etc. these bonus points will be added towards their final grade scores.

What is the theoretical and empirical basis of this?

How do I evaluate the success of this strategy?

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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