Purpose: The goal of this work was to convert an in-person, lecture-centered introductory medical physics course for radiation therapist (RT) students to a remote flipped-classroom approach, and to evaluate this approach through peer-review. We aimed for students to engage in more active and collaborative learning while maintaining a safe learning environment during the ongoing global pandemic.
Methods: Traditionally, our RT medical physics course was team-taught using in-person lectures. This year, a flipped-classroom approach was developed where these lectures, pre-recorded, were converted to pre-class work. The originally scheduled class times were used for discussion sessions, which were conducted via Zoom. These included a brief review and then employed several methods to engage the students in active learning such as cold-calling, polls, group problem-solving, “game show” style activities, and dedicated Q&A time. Student feedback was solicited throughout the course, and the teaching team held regular meetings to share best practices. The efficacy of this approach was evaluated by reviewing periodic student feedback and end-of-semester course evaluations. Additionally, a teaching peer-review program was developed and implemented to improve collaboration and teaching quality among the team.
Results: Implementing this new approach introduced challenges, both technological (e.g., video and audio quality, unfamiliarity with available tools and platforms) and pedagogical (e.g., student resistance to cold-calling, non-compliance completing pre-class work). However, student feedback from post-lecture surveys and course evaluations indicated high levels of satisfaction with the pre-class videos and the active-learning style of the discussion and review sessions. Several opportunities for improvement were identified from student feedback and peer-review. Future work will include the use of eLearning modules, monitoring pre-classwork compliance, and other strategies to further improve student engagement and learning outcomes.
Conclusion: The teaching team successfully implemented a remote, flipped-classroom approach for our RT medical physics course along with a robust faculty peer-review program.