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J Undergrad Neurosci Educ. 2018 Dec 15;17(1):A34-A39. eCollection 2018 Fall.

The Neuroscience Classroom Remodeled with Team-Based Learning.

Author information

1
Biology Department, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Boston, MA 02125.

Abstract

As neuroscience faculty we strive to have students be invested in their learning and be engaged in the process. However, these attributes are difficult to promote using a lecture-based format. Flipping the classroom so that students prepare before coming to class obliges them to take responsibility for their learning. This, combined with having them work in Teams with their classmates - across the entire semester - provides incentive and support. This article describes how I applied a method called Team-Based Learning (TBL) to my Neurobiology course. TBL requires that students read the assigned text before class and demonstrate their knowledge through quizzes called Readiness Assurance Tests (RATs) that are completed first individually (iRAT) then by each Team (tRAT). This process uncovers the most challenging material and identifies student misconceptions that the instructor addresses through mini-lectures. In subsequent classes, students work in Teams solving content-specific application questions (ungraded) and complete four written Team assignments (graded) that require critical thinking and collective decisions. Teams represent a safe space for students to share knowledge, ask questions, learn from and teach one another. Placing students in Teams promotes regular attendance and ensures preparation before class. Students report that working in Teams helps them to remember content and how to use the group's knowledge to solve problems. They also note the benefits of hearing multiple perspectives, diverse arguments, and different ways to reason. Scores on hourly exams and course grades show that TBL is an effective means for students to learn Neurobiology.

KEYWORDS:

TBL; active learning; collaborative learning; flipped classroom; group work; student engagement; student-centered learning; teaching strategies

PMID:
30618497
PMCID:
PMC6312146

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