CLIC: Cinematic Lectures and Inverted Classes Transform an Undergraduate Biology Lecture Course

Author Information
Author(s): 
David J Marcey and Michael E Brint
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
California Lutheran University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Two sections of an undergraduate introductory Biology lecture course were run in parallel as a pedagogical experiment. One section (32 students) was taught in a long-established, traditional manner, with lectures delivered during class, readings assigned in a textbook, and access to lecture graphics/slides provided via the online syllabus. The other, "flipped" section (16 students) lacked both required reading assignments and in-class lectures. Instead, students were assigned online cinematic lectures for viewing outside of class. In class, students were broken into small groups and engaged in active learning assignments. Accounting for all sources of content, the subject material covered was the same for both sections and assessments of learning were identical quizzes and examinations. Statistically significant differences in learning were observed during the first half of the semester, with the flipped-class students performing better on all tests and quizzes. These differences disappeared in the second half of the semester, coincident with a large increase in the number of views of cinelectures recorded on the course YouTube channel. Survey of the traditional class revealed that approximately 3/4 of the students had learned of the cinelectures at this time and had added viewing of these to their study, providing an internal, if initially unintended, control sample to the experiment. These results, along with other analyses, provide strong evidence that supports the conversion of traditional Biology lecture classes to a CLIC model (CLIC = Cinematic Lectures and Inverted Classes).

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Two sections of an introductory Biology lecture course (Introduction to Metabolism, Genes and Development), taught by the same professor, were run in parallel. One section (32 students) was taught in a long-established, traditional manner, with lectures delivered during class, readings assigned in a textbook, and access to lecture graphics/slides provided via the online syllabus. The other, CLIC section (16 students) lacked both required reading assignments and in-class lectures. Instead, students were assigned online cinematic lectures (cinelectures) for viewing outside of class. These cinelectures, created with Camtasia software (Techsmith), were delivered via links to YouTube from the course online syllabus. The cinelectures incorporate multiple presentation media. In class, students were broken into small groups and conducted active learning activities that varied from building physical molecular models to constructing concept maps of key topics. Often, these groups were responsible for presenting material to the class as a whole.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

There was no statistical difference between the two sections under study in either student overall or science GPAs (for science GPA, unpaired student t test, t=0.71, df=32, p=0.48), indicating no reason to expect different learning outcomes based on academic motivation or potential. Accounting for all sources of content, the subject material covered was the same for both sections and assessments of learning were identical quizzes and examinations.

Statistically significant differences in learning (quiz and test scores) were observed during the first half of the semester (unpaired student t tests, t=2.64, df=46, p=.01), with the CLIC-class students performing better on all tests and quizzes. These differences disappeared in the second half of the semester, coincident with a large increase in the number of CLU-originated views of cinelectures. An anonymous, late mid-semester survey revealed that approximately 3/4 of the students in the traditional class had learned of the cinelectures at this time and had added viewing of these to their study, providing an internal, if initially unintended, control to the experiment (i.e., there was no apparent difference in comprehension ability between the sections). The learning outcomes observed in this small pilot experiment provide compelling evidence that supports the conversion of traditional Biology lecture classes to a CLIC model.

Anonymous course evaluations showed highly significant differences (unpaired student t tests) in student perceptions of the two courses. Students in the CLIC course rated their course higher in the following categories: use of effective teaching methods (t=2.76, df = 32, p<0.01), usefulness of homework assignments (t=3.01, df=24, p<0.01), appropriateness of in-class activities for achieving learning objectives (t=3.27, df=29, p <0.01), explanation of course material by the professor (t=2.10, df=32, p< 0.05), and course fostering of active participation (t=5.15, df=32, p <0.001).

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Access: We note several advantages of the cinelecture component of CLIC.

- The four P’s of student accessibility (Alberts, et al., 2007) are met: PLACE (students have the flexibility to learn in a location of their own choosing); PACE (students can learn at the speed suited to them); PEACE (students can determine the time in which they learn); PROCESS (students may skip topics they are confident with and concentrate on unfamiliar topics, reviewing them at will). 

- Video clips of external lecturers may be captured and inserted into a given cinelecture (e.g.,www.genome.gov/Glossary). This allows the use of public domain lecture clips of women scientists and of those from under-represented demographic groups. We view this “virtual diversity” in role model lecturers as an important contribution in reaching students from underrepresented groups, especially when the course professor is a caucasian male.

- Videos, animations, and simulations that are difficult for students to absorb when receiving them as a “one-off” experience in a traditional lecture should be much more comprehensible when available online.

 

Student Satisfaction: Students in the CLIC course rated their course higher in the following categories: use of effective teaching methods (t=2.76, df = 32, p<0.01), usefulness of homework assignments (t=3.01, df=24, p<0.01), appropriateness of in-class activities for achieving learning objectives (t=3.27, df=29, p <0.01), explanation of course material by the professor (t=2.10, df=32, p< 0.05), and course fostering of active participation (t=5.15, df=32, p <0.001). CLICing allows much more interaction with faculty in the classroom, and active learning instead of passive reception of lecture material is received very positively.

 

Faculty Satisfaction: The CLIC model permits much more interaction with students, and although its implementation recognizes the primacy of active learning in reaching students, it also acknowledges the important role of faculty lecturers in contextualizing concepts within a broad base of knowledge. The production of cinelectures can be quite satisfying and allows the restructuring of lectures, affording opportunities to incoporate mutlple media formats in creative ways not possible in a traditional lecture format.

 

Learning Effectiveness: Learning outcomes (performance on examinations and quizzes) have been observed to be positively impacted by implementation of the CLIC model.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Students require access to the internet via computers or mobile devices. Faculty require cinelecture production hardware (computer, USB microphone, digital tablet) and software (screencasting software, e.g. Camtasia by Techsmith).

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

$3000: Cinelecture production hardware and software

References, supporting documents: 

- Alberts, P.P., Murray, L.A., Griffin, D.K., and J. Stephenson (2007). In Joseph Fong, Fu Lee Wang (eds), Blended Learning, pp. 53-65, Pearson

- Cinelectures for Introduction to Metabolism, Genes and Development can be found at: www.YouTube.com/user/dmflyboy.

 

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
David Marcey
Email this contact: 
marcey@clunet.edu