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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Using Case-based Learning and Flipped Classrooms in a Competency-based on Line Education Model

Stan Schmidt (Western Governors University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 1:30pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 1
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 7

From Western Governor University's model of online competency based education, two specific curriculum applications, case based learning, and flipped classroom instruction are highlighted.

Extended Abstract

Competency-based education has become a buzz word in recent years. Typically online, this education model allows students to move through an academic program at their own pace, completing tasks that demonstrate mastery of content and skills. Variations of basic patterns have been encouraged of late (2013) by the Lumina Foundation, Department of Education, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Western Governors University, founded in 1997, and a longtime partner of SLOAN-C, has consistently based its operation on a model of competency-based education that measures learning rather than 'seat' time, harnesses the power of technology for teaching and learning, and nurtures a faculty role of mentor rather than lecturer. Competencies are developed in conjunction with professional organizations and standards, and industry input. Competencies, once established, are then measured in appropriate ways so students and employers are assured that skills are mastered and capabilities are achieved.
This WGU model, based so much on industry expectations, allows for integration of new and promising pedagogy trends. Two such trends, case-based learning and flipped classroom instruction, are embedded in WGU's Secondary Science pedagogy assessments. That WGU's Secondary Science Education program is currently (2014-2015) ranked #1 in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) attests, in part, to the value and efficacy of employing these emerging pedagogy strategies.
Case-based learning (CBL), often called problem-based learning , is popular in business and law schools, but this popularity has expanded into science education with the ongoing adaption of new national professional standards (Next Generation Science Standards or NGSS). Educators who will teach in future years under these new national standards are best served by mastering the ability to do so now. This presentation will discuss one of several learning activities in which WGU students are led to demonstrate their mastery of and ability to do case-based learning as part of their pedagogy assessments.
Flipped classrooms have also emerged as a promising teaching strategy for promoting student understanding and competency. In this scenario, instruction precedes working through problems, answering questions and mastering concepts in a collaborative setting. If done in an engaging manner, flipped classrooms allow students time to delve into content, and teachers more time to engage with students.
This presentation will share a curriculum application in which students work through a flipped classroom learning activity and present their final results to peers. This design utilizes learning modules that provide real-time data from NASA and NOAA satellites and ocean buoys. These learning modules have been produced by a 40-university collaboration (of which WGU was a founding member) and are available to all free of charge. The end result of this activity is a strong conceptual understanding of flipped classroom activities, and documented ability to complete and use this strategy effectively.
From this session, attendees will gain a clearer understanding of competency based learning in general, WGU's model of competency based learning, and insights into the employment and effectiveness of on-line case-based learning and flipped classroom strategies.