A Case Study for Teaching Quantitative Biochemical Buffer Problems Using Group Work and "Khan Style" Videos

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Journal of College Science Teaching




New technological developments have minimized training, hardware expense, and distribution problems for the production and use of instructional videos, and any science instructor can now make instructional videos for their classes. We created short "Khan style" videos for the topic of buffers in biochemistry and assigned them as homework, followed by group problem-solving sessions in class. We tested the hypothesis that "inverting the classroom" (a popular terminology for the new format) could replace traditional live lectures, which are typically followed by assigning homework problems (traditionally, mostly solved by students working alone). Using the inverted classroom method, we found that most of our students achieved mastery in solving buffer problems on an exam, without any live lecture (the class averages were ~80%). Our survey data showed that both students and faculty reviewers considered the new format to be an effective teaching tool. To validate our results, we included six survey questions concerning rigor and fairness; positive data were obtained in this regard, with a mean of ~4, on a 5-point scale. We included three separate classes in our study with grade data from 67 students and survey data from 42 students.