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Not so flippin' easy: Adventures in "flipped teaching" in the biosciences

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Slides from a presentation given to the Biological Sciences Scholarship of Teaching and Learning group at the University of Leicester (November 2018). The talk gave a step-by-step reflection on the evolution of bioethics teaching via a combination of online videos and face-to-face discussion of case studies. As noted, aspect of the process remain problematic.

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Not so flippin' easy: Adventures in "flipped teaching" in the biosciences

  1. 1. Not so flippin’ easy: Adventures in "flipped teaching" in the biosciences BS-SOTL group (November 2018) Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Molecular and Cell Biology cjrw2@le.ac.uk
  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? • Reflections of turning teaching interventions into (publishable) Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
  3. 3. Terminology
  4. 4. • “Students should expect to be confronted by some of the scientific, moral and ethical questions raised by their study subject, to consider viewpoints other than their own, and to engage in critical assessment and intellectual argument. Graduates should be comfortable with dealing with uncertainty.” • “Recognise the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciate the need for ethical standards and professional codes of conduct.” Context: QAA Benchmark
  5. 5. All honours graduates MUST have “an appreciation of ethical issues and how they underpin professional integrity and standards” A typical honours graduate WILL be able to “construct reasoned arguments to support their position on the ethical and social impact of advances in the biosciences” Context: QAA Benchmark
  6. 6. • Multimedia (esp visual media) can be integrated into teaching about bioethics in variety of ways Use of broadcast clips Video production News analysis Multimedia in Bioethics Education Flipped lectures
  7. 7. Multimedia in Bioethics Education Flipped lectures
  8. 8. The dreaded Christmas letter… http://tinyurl.com/xmastreeeffect “…Deborah got into Harvard aged 11, …Ralph got a music scholarship to Eton, …. Carl was elected President of the Kindergarten Debating Society…”
  9. 9. Evolution ofYr2 Bioethics A cautionary tale A work in progress
  10. 10. 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)
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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%)
  13. 13. Why ethics case studies? • Case-based teaching reported to offer several attractions (e.g. Yadav et al, 2007) Promotes: - Engagement with topic - Higher-level skills, e.g. critical thinking empathy • Appropriate medium for debate about controversial issues with legitimate divergence of viewpoint
  14. 14. Cases in BS2000 • 8 (semi-)fictional cases prepared for 2 hr tutorial - Interviews with parents of children with inherited condition (& control group) - Clinical trial in developing country - Research misconduct (fabrication, whistleblowing) - Human tissue samples - Dubious source of funding - Incidental findings - Synthetic biology - Animal research • Students given week to prepare • Tutors given guidance notes
  15. 15. Feedback 2014(a) • n= 279 • total of 12 out of 116 comments mentioned ethics • Lectures: - “I felt that the ethics lectures were the only valuable lectures in the module” - “The bioethics lectures were generally relevant and were interesting” - “The bioethics lectures were highly interesting” - “The lectures regarding bioethics and experimental design were both useful and interesting, I feel though they could be cut down…”
  16. 16. Feedback 2014(b) • Tutorials: 7 comments - all negative - about tutorial time being given over to ethics case studies, e.g. - “we had to waste time answering questions meant that we had less time as a group to do the accessed (sic) work” - “timetabled group sessions are lost with exams/ ethical scenario exercises” - “…this wasted time that could have been devoted to our actual research project” - “…these small tasks added greater time pressure on completing the main aim of the Research module”
  17. 17. Conclusions from 1st iteration • Lectures generally well received (if mentioned) • Some students unhappy with group discussion time being “wasted” on bioethics scenarios • Some staff uncomfortable with ethics teaching
  18. 18. 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)
  19. 19. Flipped lectures • e.g. Research involving humans • 5 lectures – 57 mins total
  20. 20. Flipped lectures
  21. 21. Lectures (n=311) Live lectures & Case discussions also recorded • Lecture 1: Introduction (1 pm, 26/10/15) – 124 (40%) absent video watched by 20, only 11 for >15 mins • Lecture 2: Cases pt1 (5 pm, 27/10/15) – 141 (45%) absent video watched by 11, only 4 for >15 mins • Lecture 3: Cases pt2 (1 pm, 02/11/15) – 121 (39%) absent video watched by 9, only 4 for >15 mins
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. 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”
  24. 24. 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”
  25. 25. Feedback 2015(c) • Tutorials, etc: -“[Start] doing bioethics in the tutorial groups” - “[Start] having tutorial sessions where you put some of what you learn in lectures into practice, for example, ethical committees” - “Maybe introduce an ethics exam” - “The extra information for the ethics was very well coordinated” - “[Stop] having so many lectures/powerpoints on just ethics of human clinical trials”
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. Feedback in 2016 (Students) • Open text question in formative quiz • Emerging themes: - duration v number - sound quality - time commitment & priorities - additional formats
  29. 29. Feedback in 2016 (Students) Duration v Number of Videos • “I found it helpful that there were lots of short videos rather than fewer longer ones” • “It would have been better if there had been fewer videos to watch” • “It would have been easier to have all the videos for each topic (Human, Animal and GM) in one video”
  30. 30. Feedback in 2016 (Students) Duration v Number of Videos • “I watched most of the videos but some I left playing while I was tidying my room so I could still listen but also use the time for other things! 14 was quite a few though, longer than an hour so >1 lecture”
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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)
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. Not so flipping easy? What factors influence engagement?
  35. 35. Insights from focus group (1) Delegation “One of the ways my group had decided to organise was just one girl was tackling the bioethics section of the write up so in that sense I think the rest of us kind of switched off from it because we were like oh OK she’s doing it” (Student B, Biological Sciences) “That’s what happened with our group as well. So when we felt like we didn’t, it was necessarily relevant we could focus on other areas and as interesting as it was in terms of prioritising time I guess it did not become my priority to watch all the videos” (Student C, Medical Biochemistry)
  36. 36. Insights from focus group (2) Selectivity “I mean and in all honesty like, it was really interesting but ours was just using mice, so none of the human stuff… half of it was not relevant” (Student D, Medical Biochemistry) “Yeah ours was using mice as well so half of it was not even… [interrupted]” (Student B, Biological Sciences)
  37. 37. Insights from focus group (3) Overwhelmed “I think one thing that personally deterred me from was just seeing the number 14, I’m just being honest, as soon as I saw 14 videos I was a bit like ‘ooh, don’t have time don’t have time’. I think I found it a little bit overwhelming to have that much in one folder it’s like ‘it’s waiting for me to watch this’” (Student C, Medical Biochemistry) “I think it is good to know it all there’s but… there were a lot” (Student B, Biological Sciences)
  38. 38. Insights from focus group (4) Duration “I think 5 minutes is good. Not too long that you’re like ‘no I’m not watching that’ so it is fun but the number of them was a bit over” (Student B, Biological Sciences) “Yeah. Our attention span is now 10 minutes isn’t it? So you’ve got to get under ten minutes – as soon as you see those double digits your mind just goes ‘nah’… As soon as you get into 10, 15 minutes you’re just like ‘nah’” (Student D, Medical Biochemistry)
  39. 39. Insights from focus group (5) Delivery “Make a YouTube channel with them on” (Student D, Medical Biochemistry) “Yeah stick it on the YouTube channel and I’d watch it that way, definitely” (Student A, Biological Sciences) “I haven’t looked [on my phone] but I wouldn’t be bothered to login to Blackboard… Like a YouTube app, 5 minutes to click on a subscribe to channel it could be his channel” (Student A, Biological Sciences)
  40. 40. Insights from focus group (6) Case studies “Didn’t he do a lot of scenarios and things they were quite interesting” (Student A, Biological Sciences) “Yeah I really enjoyed those… coz they really made us think, like I really… like sometimes I switch off but with those ones we had to think about them” (Student C, Medical Biochemistry) “He did… they were really good” (Student D, Medical Biochemistry) “Although the lecture was just scenarios it was kind of ‘when will this end?’… Spread them out a bit more” (Student A, Biological Sciences)
  41. 41. Insights from focus group (7a) Quiz to promote video viewing? “I really enjoyed the bioethics. I can’t say I watched the videos… I wish I had done I just didn’t get around to it. I kept meaning to, I just didn’t have the time, so I just did the quiz, answered it with common sense answers and minor googling. I wish I’d sat and watched them, because they did look interesting I just didn’t get around to it” (Student A, Biological Sciences) “I just read the questions and then skipped to the bit in the video that I was… I watched the first few and then I was a bit tight for time” (Student B, Biological Sciences)
  42. 42. Insights from focus group (7b) Quiz to promote video viewing? “I think it encouraged some people to watch it I’d imagine because you think ‘oh I’ve got to answer the quiz’, but once you open up the quiz and have a look at it you think ‘I can answer these without watching the videos quite easily’” (Student A) “Yeah, it was a good idea but it’s easy to kind of avoid watching the videos, and I think a lot of people I spoke to were just like ‘I did the quiz because they told us to do the quiz’ so they didn’t pay attention to any of the videos they just googled something” (Student B)
  43. 43. Insights from focus group (8) Discrepancy re videos viewed “I was like ‘they’re not going to believe me’, even if I do put ‘I watched all of them’ because they’ll probably just think I’m lying so it doesn’t work!” (Student D, Medical Biochemistry) “I think I put midway because it was true and I was like they’ll also kind of believe that, probably more than saying ‘oh yeah I’ve watched all of them’” (Student B, Biological Sciences) “I think I put all of them because I could feel the disapproving gaze of Willmott” (Student A, Biological Sciences)
  44. 44. 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 • Expectation management - Advice on how to make most of videos
  45. 45. Considerations for flipped teaching • Incentivisation? Scheduling? • Fewer, longer videos v More, shorter videos? • Additional resources (e.g. transcripts)? • Delivery? Regular release v Glut? (stagger release over time, even if ready) • Sound quality and format - animation? - on screen appearance? • Panopto to prepare, but deliver via YouTube?
  46. 46. Gathering evidence for review (and publication?) • Regular teaching can generate various types of evidence: - module review forms - Panopto usage data - additional open text question - module performance • Inclusion of a focus group (however small) adds insight into student thinking
  47. 47. Acknowledgements • Matt Mobbs • Gemma Mitchell • Alan Cann • David Bridgwood • University Teaching Excellence Project Fund
  48. 48. 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?
  49. 49. References Herreid C.F. (2011) Case Study Teaching New Directions For Teaching and Learning 126:31-40 Willmott C. (2013) Headline Bioethics: Engagement with bioethics in the news Bioscience Education 21:3-6 Willmott C. (2014) Boxing Clever: Television as a teaching tool Times Higher Education (28th August 2014) Willmott C.J.R. (2015) Teaching Bioethics via the Production of Student- generated Videos Journal of Biological Education 49:127-138 Yadav A. et al (2007) Teaching Science with Case Studies: A national survey of faculty perceptions of the benefits and challenges of using cases Journal of College Science Teaching 37:34-38