A flipped classroom approach to teaching basic maths skills
From Tom Foster on July 3rd, 2018
Although numerical competence is essential for success in the biological sciences, a number of students at this institution and others struggle with their maths skills and confidence. Rebecca Barnes, from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at The University of Sheffield, delivers a module entitled “Maths for Molecular Bioscience”. This available as an unrestricted choice for MBB students who did not complete A-level maths, and covers the basic concepts students will use to generate and analyse biological data.
Rebecca decided on a flipped-classroom approach when designing this module, to allow students to work at their own pace and reduce anxiety. Each week covers a different topic. Students view a number of short, homemade screencast videos, originally uploaded onto YouTube and more recently onto Kaltura; they then complete a problem set, attend a tutorial where they can ask any questions on the material, and take a short quiz on Blackboard (consisting mostly of questions that can be marked automatically). There is also a long-form final exam.
This presentation describes the process and rationale in designing the module, and some evidence of the impact the module has had on students. It will be of interest to anyone looking to implement a similar strategy as part of their own practice.