Award for Teaching Innovations in E-learning 2020-21
“Learning is ideally and naturally student-motivated and student-centered. Flipped classroom learning can maximise selflearning and enhance classroom engagement.”
Professor Pauline CHIU has been teaching organic chemistry for over twenty years. One of these courses, CHEM2441—Organic Chemistry, is a core course for the Chemistry Major and Intensive Chemistry Major. It is also the first organic chemistry course for most students with a large class size of about 80 to 100 students each semester. These make it essential that a good foundation of understanding is laid through the course.
Educational research shows that student-centered, active and engaged learning ultimately leads to better retention and performance. In 2020, Pauline converted the CHEM2441 course to be delivered via a flipped classroom mode, in which students learned organic chemistry through studying e-learning teaching videos at home and when they came to class, they did the “homework” exercises supported by teachers and tutors who could immediately answer their questions, give feedback, and provide guidance. The flipping of the course involved the production of more than 24 videos to present organic chemistry through lively graphics and tracks, with particularly illuminating animations for visualising three-dimensional molecules. The videos put learners in the driver’s seat, as the clips could be fast-forwarded, paused or replayed as needed to cater to students with varying learning styles, competencies and backgrounds. In this manner, they spent as much or as little time as they needed to master the material, at their own pace and time.
Pauline believes that flipped classroom teaching sets the stage for students to own their learning process and achievements, which will go far – as students continue on their journey of studying science, not only being armed with the foundational knowledge they need to progress in their major, but also the active skills of how to acquire that knowledge.