Educational innovations from bachelor Pharmaceutical Sciences go (inter)national

AIMMS researchers Maikel Wijtmans, Danny Scholten and colleagues investigated the use of an activating Blended Learning approach

03/21/2019 | 10:02 AM

The promising outcome of multi-year Blended Learning innovations in the bachelor programme Pharmaceutical Sciences will be presented by Maikel Wijtmans and/or Danny Scholten on both the national and international stage. In doing so they hope to convince fellow teachers that these innovations hold multiple merits for students and teachers alike, and to provide advice to colleagues who want to explore but are hesitant to change course setup. The work has been selected for oral presentations at the 257th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, USA (April) and at the Media & Learning Conference on Video in Higher Education, Belgium (June) as well for a poster presentation at The First Utrecht Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (March). Furthermore, a manuscript about the Blended Learning setup is in the making. On May 2 they will also participate in a dedicated education session co-organized by AIMMS and the Division of Innovations in Health and Life Sciences.

The multi-year results of the study provided encouraging outcomes in online engagement, exam performance and student/teacher evaluations. Wijtmans (researcher/teacher Division of Medicinal Chemistry) and Scholten (teacher Division of Innovations in Health and Life Sciences) have worked with a multidisciplinary team (which also included Erik Boon, Stefan Dekker, Anneke Vuuregge, Chris Vos, Marco Siderius and Jacqueline van Muijlwijk-Koezen) to investigate the use of an activating Blended Learning approach in two 1st year courses (4 years of Molecular Principles and 2 years of Cellular Biochemistry) taking place in the first two months of the first semester. Their hypothesis was that an increase in activating content would benefit the performance of these students in the subject matter as well as increase their motivation to embrace academic learning. Toward this end, for both courses all lectures were recorded in preceding years using both existing and novel recording technologies and edited for re-use during the subsequent years of the Blended Learning study. About half of the traditional lecture blocks were exclusively offered online as slidecasts supplemented with in-cast MC questions. In the Molecular Principles course the students were also offered the vote on which lecture blocks would appear online and which blocks would remain in traditional 'live' format. The substantial amount of contact hours released by moving content online were used in both courses for activating sessions such as extra problem-solving sessions, 3D viewing of (bio)molecules on the devices of students, occasional article viewing and other activating approaches.