Real world application of content helps students connect what they’ve learned in the classroom with real patients and problems. Through my experience at Auburn University I have had opportunities teaching PharmD students about Medicare in the classroom and then subsequently working with them one on one in the Medicare Outreach Program. This program allows students to apply the skills they’ve acquired in class to help patients’ compare Medicare Part D plans at enrollment events in the community. It is meaningful to be part of instilling a sense of caring for community among pharmacy students and having and immediate impact on patient lives in addition to student learning through integrating teaching and outreach. This experience, along with my previous roles as a teaching assistant and mentor has shaped my teaching philosophy.
Equally as important as these actual interactions with students, is the design of courses. As part of the Preparing Future Faculty Fellowship, I have been trained in Integrated Course Design. This method includes the three stages of Backwards Design. First, the learning goals or course objectives are identified. Second, appropriate assessment activities are created that will provide evidence that these goals have been met. Lastly the teaching and learning activities that will be used to deliver course content are designed. This method of backward design ensures that learning goals are met by identifying successful student performance prior to creating teaching and learning activities upon which students will be assessed. When learning goals, learning activities, and assessments are aligned, teaching is more effective. Using this method, I designed a course including a syllabus, schedule, course content, assessments, and a microteaching session. This microteaching session used the flipped classroom method to deliver content related to Immunization Registries through a video and then active learning and assessment in class.
Creating a learning environment that stimulates student enthusiasm, life-long learning, and real world applications is most effective. Stimulating student interest is essential in moving beyond memorization and truly understanding concepts that can then be built upon. Interactive classrooms can help achieve this goal. Incorporating active and collaborative learning, as well as flipped classroom designs can help to develop an interactive environment conducive to learning and stimulating student interest. Life-long learning is a critical skill for students in this field as it is constantly changing and will require them to find and apply new information. Only a small portion of the skills students will need throughout their career are learned while pursuing their degree. It is our job to provide them with a foundation and the resources to be able to find additional information on their own.