A novel integration of online and flipped classroom instructional models in public health higher education


In 2013, a cohort of public health students participated in a 'flipped'Environmental and Occupational Health course. Content for the course was delivered through NextGenU.org and active learning activities were carried-out during in-class time.

This paper reports on the design, implementation, and evaluation of this novel approach.

Methods: Using mixed-methods, we examined learning experiences and perceptions of the flipped classroom model and assessed changes in students'self-perceived knowledge after participation in the course. We used pre- and post-course surveys to measure changes in self-perceived knowledge.

The post-course survey also included items regarding learning experiences and perceptions of the flipped classroom model. We also compared standard course review and examination scores for the 2013 NextGenU/Flipped Classroom students to previous years when the course was taught with a lecture-based model.

We conducted a focus group session to gain more in-depth understanding of student learning experiences and perceptions.

Results: Students reported an increase in knowledge and survey and focus group data revealed positive learning experiences and perceptions of the flipped classroom model. Mean examination scores for the 2013 NextGenU/Flipped classroom students were 88.8% compared to 86.4% for traditional students (2011).

On a scale of 1-5 (1 = lowest rank, 5 = highest rank), the mean overall rating for the 2013 NextGenU/Flipped classroom students were 88.8% compared to 86.4% for traditional students (2011). On a scale course was 4.7/5 compared to prior years'overall ratings of 3.7 (2012), 4.3 (2011), 4.1 (2010), and 3.9 (2009).

Two key themes emerged from the focus group data: 1) factors influencing positive learning experience (e.g ., interactions with students and instructor); and 2) changes in attitudes towards environmental and occupation health (e.g ., deepened interest in the field).

Conclusion: Our results show that integration of the flipped classroom model with online NextGenU courses can be an effective innovation in public health higher education: students achieved similar examination scores, but NextGenU/Flipped classroom students rated their course experience more highly and reported positive learning experiences and an increase in self-perceived knowledge. These results are promising and suggest that this approach warrants further consideration and research.



Published on: 2014-08-29

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