Low-stake Quizzes and Live Application Classes Increase Student Engagement with Online Pre-recorded Lectures:
Lessons from an Online Flipped Undergraduate Classroom during COVID-19
When choosing to deliver a program or module online, whether to deliver synchronously or asynchronously is pertinent. While both approaches have intrinsic limitations, a common challenge is maintaining online student engagement. With increased post-pandemic implementation of online / blended delivery across higher education, means of increasing online student engagement must be prioritized, furthermore whether to rely solely on synchronous or asynchronous delivery for such courses must be addressed. In our study, we describe student feedback on how such engagement might be enhanced for online delivery. We outline the implementation of an online, flipped classroom for a 3rd year Pharmaceutical Biotechnology module (34 students) at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), during COVID-19. Classes consisted of 2 hours delivered asynchronously (via recorded lectures) and a 3rd hour for synchronous active learning over MS Teams. We found that engagement with online recorded lectures (number of video views/student each week) was positively correlated with increased performance in weekly low-stake assessments (10 x online MCQs, 1% of total grade) and final exam scores. Four students relayed their experiences at the end of the semester in an anonymous focus group and reported; 1. Asynchronous delivery enabled flexible learning and self-pacing, with ability to replay lectures a noted benefit. 2. Synchronous learning allowed class interaction, instructor feedback and knowledge application. 3. Combination of asynchronous and synchronous approaches was preferred over a single delivery mode. 4. Synchronous sessions and low-stake weekly assessments incentivized engagement with asynchronous class materials. While our findings are preliminary, due to the low number of students (4/34) that contributed to our focus group, our data does suggest that combining asynchronous and synchronous resources and low-stake assessments might enhance student engagement with online asynchronous resources. These findings have pedagogical implications for educators designing future modules or programmes for online delivery.
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