My project goal is to redesign a class on the health effects of climate change using a flipped classroom model. I have created a self-directed learning unit that the students will complete before class. The in-class application exercise will use Bubbl.us concept mapping to demonstrate important relationships between the environmental consequences of climate change and human health. Concept mapping is a metacognitive process that involves making decisions about different ways concepts are related to each other and leads to a deeper understanding of the problem.
The class I am targeting is a first semester cohort class of 40 students. I chose topic of climate change and health because it builds understanding of an important national health issue. It also connects the DPT students to sustainability, a foundational part of the Chatham University mission.
For some of the students, the topic of climate change is controversial. In the case of controversy, a simple one-way transmission of facts is sometimes met with resistance. I hope to mitigate students’ ideological resistance by doing two things. First, in allowing students choice from a menu of source of information, I hope to reduce the tendency to categorically reject ideas that are inconsistent with old beliefs. Second, the flipped classroom model will give the students’ time to reflect on the readings and videos before entering into discussion with their peers. Time to reflect on the material should make students more comfortable and confident when engaging in discussion.
I chose learning objectives that fall into the Synthesis level of Blooms taxonomy. One of the fundamental jobs of a health scientists is to evaluate evidence and make informed decision based on scientific analysis. Students will practice critical decision making throughout the DPT curriculum.
1. Students will conclude that climate change is a product of human actions and has a deleterious effect on human health.
2. Students will propose relationships between climate change mitigating actions and corresponding impacts on human health.
The class described is planned for fall 2017. Students will be given the flipped classroom assignment on a Wednesday and the discussion will follow the next Wednesday.
Students will choose from a menu of TED talks, research articles and quality web sites for background information about climate change and health. After completing the learning unit, students will create a concept map illustrating the relationship between climate change and health, using a free program called Bubbl.us.
The class will be divided into 6 groups and tasked to devise a consensus concept map diagraming the relationships between climate change and health. Students will not have read all of the same material so they bring different perspectives to the discussion. They will compare and combine individual concept maps into a single conceptualization. These group concept maps will be uploaded to the class Moodle site for view and discussion by the class as a whole.
Finally, students will regroup to create a new concept map showing the relationship between potential climate-mitigating actions and health. This activity again draws from the students’ preparation but it is not part of the preparation prompt. Students will have to synthesize and theorize based on their understanding of the videos and reading.
Before the unit begins I plan to administer a survey that asks students about their beliefs and attitudes about climate change. I have permission from Gallup Polls to use the poll from Politics March 25, 2015 “U.S. Views on Climate Change Stable after Extreme Winter”. This is the most recent Gallup Poll that asks a large diverse sample about climate change beliefs and attitudes. I plan to repeat the survey at the end of the second class to see if there have been any changes in student attitudes or beliefs about climate change and health. I will also compare the cohorts’ responses to those detailed in the national Gallup Poll survey.
Reflections and Next Steps
This project has helped inform my teaching well beyond the class redesign. Becky Borello and Lauren Panton are gifted technology mentors. My fellow Fellows have inspired and mentored me as well. I owe a particular debts to Meigan Robb for helping me understand Bubbl.us and to Mary Beth Mannarino for helping to understand how to “talk across differences” when dealing with climate science.
My next target for redesign is a class on health inequity. I also plan to apply what I learned in the project, flipping the classroom and implementing concept mapping to demonstrate the complex relationships between health and wealth.