For most of my lecture courses during remote instruction, I gave my lectures over Zoom, sharing slides I could write on and using poll questions to quiz the students. It really wasn’t too difficult compared to teaching the same classes in person.

For my human physiology lecture, MCB 32, I decided to flip the entire course, so students learned the basic material on our course website, and lectures were used for review and practice questions. In the summer of 2020, I converted my lecture slides and notes to individual pages in 28 different modules. Most pages had a short video I recorded to further explain the material on the page. I recorded over 100 videos that summer! All of this was built with the Canvas learning management system. On Fridays we released the modules for the next week (usually 2-3/week in the fall). Each module has an online homework assignment at the end where students can test their understanding (they get three chances to get the correct answers).

Example page

Here’s an example of a page about voluntary movement (it is titled 16.4, because this is page 4 of module 16. The other pages were about proprioception and reflexes). The drawings were all things I drew in previous years during lecture, which I luckily had saved. The figures are from our textbook. Each page also has practice questions in green boxes. Sometimes I gave them the answers, but for more difficult problems we went over those during the Zoom lectures to give student incentives for attending class.

This is where I would have a short video, usually around 5-10 minutes. Sometimes it was a video of my screen while I drew things and talked over the material. Other videos I recorded using the white board in my office or chalkboards in the lab classes. Here’s the video for this page (one of my favorites):

Student response

Students adapted well to the flipped format and I received a lot of positive feedback. In a mid-semester survey in fall 2020, most students said that they were able to successfully learn the material using the modules. They enjoyed the flexibility of being able to learn the material on their own time and they could easily go back and review specific topics.

Here are a few quotes from the survey.

I take detailed notes and read through the modules before I watch the actual Zoom lectures, and I usually find the Zoom lectures to be good at reinforcing the material that I learned on my own through the modules.

The course is quite interactive despite being entirely online. I enjoy the questions given for every module because it offers a way for me to critically think and realize which areas I need to revisit.

The videos are especially helpful since I can go at my own pace and rewatch anything I did not understand. I can then just ask questions if I am still confused.

Assuming my lectures are in-person again someday, I plan on keeping the same flipped format, using the modules for independent study and the live lectures for review and practice.

A few more of my favorite videos