In 2017, the Lab for Educational Technology worked with the BMP Director of Academics, Peter Drain, to develop a novel use of online, live and virtual small group activities for his course in the new Biomedical Master’s Program (BMP).

http://bmpnav.pitt.edu

The Biomedical Master’s Program (BMP) is a new one-year master’s degree program for students pursuing careers in the health sciences. In 2017, the Lab for Educational Technology launched a version of its Navigator LMS for use by BMP faculty and students. The BMP employs a “flipped classroom” design where much of the program work is done outside the classroom. In-class time is spent actively engaged with the faculty and facilitators. Critical thinking and applying knowledge through good question writing are major themes of the program. Working with the BMP’s Director of Academics, Peter Drain, the Lab conceptualized and implemented several new features into the Navigator LMS to support the academic goals of the BMP.

Organization of course materials around learning objectives

One of the major components of the pilot Method and Logic in Biomedicine course was the organization of all course materials around a set of 50 learning objectives. Organizing content by learning objective provided several educational benefits for both students and faculty including:

  • Greater reinforcement and understanding of the objective by the student through pre-class, in-class and post-class work
  • Continuous assessment of both student and instructor through analysis of data associated with each objective

“Interactive learning, the conversations we had in class, the weekly pre-class and after class session, were very helpful. I did not have to study a lot for the final because I knew everything.”
– BMP Student, Class of 2018

Learning Spaces for student post-class group collaboration

“The small group work was a critical component of my understanding. Formulating questions and learning concepts were effective as well.”
– BMP Student, Class of 2018

To facilitate the post-class session for the Method and Logic in Biomedicine course, the Lab developed online learning spaces where students can “claim” a learning objective and submit questions for the post-class session. The students work collaboratively to write questions and a learning concept statement for the objective. During the weekly online post-class session, students discuss and revise their questions and statements with the rest of their group.

BMP

Feed-forward graphing of student learning

Instructors can see at a quick glance how students are performing on the pre-class questions before going into the in-class session. This allows the instructor to adjust his lecture according to the needs of the student.

 

Live polling of students for class activities

Poll Everywhere audience response system was used during the beginning and end of each Method and Logic in Biomedicine in-class session.  This powerful technology helped the instructor gauge student knowledge about each learning objective and engage students in active discussion based on their responses.