Teaching with Technology Home » New Pharmacy Classrooms Emphasize a Student-Centered Approach

pharm-podWhen the College of Pharmacy welcomed its charter class in the fall of 1996, it was in the process of constructing its state-of-the-art pods, which included student breakout rooms connected to a central classroom. Furthermore, the classrooms themselves were of a nontraditional design, based on a theater-in-the-round concept supported by 6 projectors and screens. Despite these innovations, the classrooms reinforced the lecture-hall mentality, with the instructor literally at the center of the teaching-learning process.

Recent trends in student-centered instruction, notably reflected in popular pedagogical models such as the “flipped classroom”, are challenging these lecture-driven arrangements and replacing them with more flexible learning spaces designed to encourage greater student engagement. Once again, the College of Pharmacy has led the charge through a major redesign of its classrooms.

pharm-classroomAs stated on the College of Pharmacy’s own Facilities page, the new classrooms “reflect an innovative design intended to foster student-centered learning, where students are actively engaged in their learning process.” The new classrooms seat up to 144 students, and provide tables for teams of 8. Large screens strategically placed around the classroom can be used for viewing instructor or student presentations, while smaller screens at the tables can also be used for group activities.

On Tuesday, November 15, the student-centric approach could be seen in Classroom 3 when Professor Bradley Andresen, PhD, FAHA, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, hosted a live multiplayer version of the popular Jeopardy game with 128 students. The game was developed to help first year students enrolled in the PharmD program prepare for their final exams. Dr. Andresen’s version of the game included 18 teams of around 7 students each and incorporated a betting round where teams could wager points based on the answers submitted by other players.

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The energy in the classroom was evident as students quickly became engaged in friendly competition. “The new classrooms are well equipped for this kind of activity”, says Dr. Andresen. “I see more opportunities ahead for gamified approaches which really get the students involved in the learning process.”

View a video clip of Dr. Andresen’s multiplayer game implementation in HPC Classroom 3 here.

For more information on the new Pharmacy Classrooms, go to http://www.westernu.edu/pharmacy/pharmacy-msps_about/pharmacy-facilities/

For more information on the multiplayer Jeopardy game, please contact:

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Bradley Andresen, PhD, FAHA, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, at bandresen@westernu.edu

 

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