Getting active

In the move from f2f to online there is an ever-present danger that traditional f2f approaches just get translated in their entirety into an online format – so a lecture just becomes a recorded lecture. That is not good. For lots of reasons.

You don’t have the ability to “read the room” – even if you insist students turn their cameras on and you watch them as you speak (and record the lecture anyway) you’re not going to get the same feedback as you would if it really was f2f.

Students are often reluctant to turn their cameras on – for lots of reasons: unflattering screengrabs shared on social media; social anxiety; the background being visible potentially with other people walking past.

Unless you have a superstar guest speaker, hour after hour of online lectures is not going to be well-received. If you’re not going to lecture then what do you do instead?

You can record short pieces – perhaps you have a great explanation for a tricky concept or you want to give an overview big picture type of introduction. I’ve written about some ideas to make recorded lectures more engaging.

You could also link to a textbook or an article or website and provide some questions to help students direct their reading and get the right information and understanding out of it. These can then be interleaved with other more active approaches. I’m going to try and collect some ideas for active approaches here.

Escape rooms: There is a good reference for the use of escape rooms in medical education:

The great escape? The rise of the escape room in medical education

J Guckian, L Eveson and H May, Future Healthc J June 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7861/fhj.2020-0032

About JennyAKoenig

I am Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology at the University of Nottingham. My interests are: maths education for bioscientists, study skills for scientists with specific learning difficulties and pharmacology: bringing the science behind how medicines work (or don't!) to a wider audience. I have a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge and a BSc (Hons 1) from the University of Sydney. I have taught maths and pharmacology to science, medical and veterinary students at University and biology, chemistry, physics and maths at a large comprehensive secondary school.
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