ACTIVE LEARNING IN BLENDED INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS COURSE FOR SCIENCE PROGRAMS: INSTRUCTOR’S EXPERIENCE OF NCAT REDESIGN
Ryerson University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper describes the instructor’s perspective on course redesign using the National Council for Academic Transformation (NCAT) approach that was adopted in a large public Canadian university. NCAT is an independent, non-profit US-based organization that provides leadership in using educational technologies to redesign learning environments with the goal of producing better learning outcomes for students at a reduced cost to the institution. In 2014 Ryerson University applied for and received funding from the government of Ontario to carry out a pilot course redesign project. Two goals were simultaneously pursued in this project: improving student learning outcomes and improving the institution’s capacity to deliver thus enhanced educational experience efficiently (i.e., productivity improvement). Courses chosen for the pilot represented a broad variety of disciplines and programs. Large-enrollment introductory physics course for science program majors was among the fourteen courses selected for the pilot. The introductory physics course was redesigned following the NCAT guidelines. The goal of this particular course redesign was to turn the course into more active learning blended environment with partially flipped lectures and with a significant online component to extend learning beyond the classroom. The redesigned course was delivered in the Fall semester of 2014. With the increase of the online component of the course the role of the Teaching Assistants shifted from administering and grading toward more tutoring and mentoring roles. The redesigned format improved student active engagement and made students study more regularly. We also observed some improvement in retention and successful completion rate which was achieved without increasing the cost of course delivery. The students achieved better mastery of core physics concepts included in the course syllabus. The benefits beyond studying physics content included fostering time management skills, independence, critical thinking and problem-solving.
Keywords: NCAT, course redesign, flipped classroom, blended learning, learning outcomes, physics.