The Department of Pediatric Dentistry was having attendance issues with less than 10% of students attending class. Large class sizes (almost 400 dental students per year), combined with only one multiple choice final assessment, made it difficult to determine if students were prepared to serve families once they reached their clinical training. It also contributed to a pervasive negativity regarding this aspect of their training. The faculty decided to take action and engaged with the Digital Studio team to help with their desire to improve student engagement and success.
After analysis of the Pediatric Dentistry curriculum, the Digital Studio team made the recommendation of doing a curriculum re-design using a blended learning model. The focus was twofold: First, we collaboratively shifted focus so that there would be a student centered approach. This would allow for breaking up nearly 400 students into smaller groups of 12-25. Second, faculty would shift their methods from working individually, to creating and sharing content with one another. In end, this would greatly enrich the curriculum by maximizing shared knowledge among faculty. The idea was to start small and implement changes in various stages.
A fully redesigned program! Since implementing these recommendations there have been several notable “wins” for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. The online portion of the curriculum has been thoroughly designed on NYU Classes with learning modules and built in frequent assessment. Instructors can now use this assessment data to inform themselves on what learning objectives to focus on. As a result, face-to-face interactions have been redesigned to incorporate more active learning strategies and student engagement, which has increased attendance.
Faculty have also developed deeper working relationships among their colleagues by sharing knowledge and their instructional modules with one another. This has proven to deliver a richer learning environment for students and has improved the median student’s exam scores.