Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Performance and Perceptions in a Flipped Teaching Pilot on Cardiac Arrhythmias

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Students' Performance and Perceptions in a Flipped Teaching Pilot on Cardiac Arrhythmias

Article excerpt


Since the introduction of the term "flipped classroom" in 2007, the flipped teaching model has been rapidly gaining popularity in kindergarten through twelfth grades and undergraduate education nationwide. (1) Its popularity and growth have been fueled by developments in digital media, software, and increased access to the Internet. (2) As such, the new generation of pharmacy students will likely expect use of multimedia and flipped classrooms. As learners coming of age at the turn of the millennium have been defined by technology and social media, (3) colleges and schools of pharmacy will need to update their curricula to match modern learning and media preferences in order to keep students stimulated and engaged.

Traditional teaching methods have relied heavily on professors disseminating information through lectures, and students passively absorbing material for a majority of the class period. Limitations of traditional teaching are recognized and call for curricular change voiced in schools of medicine, pharmacy, and other medical professional schools. (4-7) Additionally, as the profession of pharmacy is becoming more clinical and patient-centered, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education Accreditation Guidelines and the Center for Advancement of Pharmacy Education Educational Outcomes have become increasingly focused on teaching methods that increase communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and self-learning skills. (8,9) In the flipped classroom, lectures, traditionally given in class, are offered in various forms (eg, multimedia recordings, online tutorials, etc) outside of the classroom to be completed prior to class, and class time is dedicated to application and discussion of lecture materials through active-learning exercises that utilize higher order cognitive skills.

At Touro University California College of Pharmacy (TUCOP), active learning has become an integral part of the pharmacy curriculum in order to expand these skills now required of today's pharmacy professionals. In a typical 3-hour class period, Touro University pharmacy students spend roughly 2 hours listening to lecture and 1 hour in small group discussion sections in which students discuss case-based problems, prepare and give presentations, and perform other exercises. To further enhance and use the full class period for active learning, the flipped teaching method was piloted in the spring of 2012 for first-year pharmacy students on the topic of cardiac arrhythmias, a historically challenging topic for students.

The TUCOP didactic curriculum follows a semester system in which students are enrolled in 4 content-based courses: basic sciences (5 units), pharmacology (6 units), therapeutics (5 units), and social and administrative sciences (3 units). Organ systems and the associated diseases/ therapeutic topics are covered in blocks, with each course covering content related to its title. The topic of cardiac arrhythmias, for example, was taught during the cardiology block of the first-year spring semester, with 1 class period in each relevant course: the basic sciences period covers basic pathophysiology and identification of cardiac arrhythmias on electrocardiograms; the pharmacology period covers the pharmacology of anti-arrhythmia drugs; and the therapeutics period covers the pharmacotherapy of cardiac arrhythmias (social and administrative sciences in not involved with this disease state). Thus, the flipped teaching pilot was implemented as 3 classes, 1 in each course, basic sciences, pharmacology, and therapeutics, over the course of 1 week.

The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the flipped teaching method on academic performance by comparing the examination scores of students in the flipped teaching setting to examination scores of students in the traditional teaching setting and to assess the perceived value of the flipped teaching method by analyzing student feedback. …

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