Faculty learn to “flip” the classroom

Making learning active was the goal of a workshop attended by a group of Fresno Pacific University at California Health Sciences University (CHSU).

Some 13 professors from the School of Business, School of Education, School of Natural Sciences and School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences participated in the Team Based Learning event. Traditional undergraduate, bachelor’s degree completion and graduate programs were represented, as well as the student retention and success staff.

“FPU’s faculty interest in TBL spanned academic disciplines, including business, education, nursing, history, early childhood development, kinesiology, general education, special education and natural sciences,” said Cindy Carter, Ph.D., associate provost for degree completion and institutional effectiveness at FPU. “Attendees responded enthusiastically about how processes could be applied across these fields and there were many requests for similar offerings in the future.”

TBL is a “flipped classroom” format that promotes an interactive learning style designed to pave a developmental pathway toward competency-based education. “The literature suggests that our ability to build and facilitate TBL lessons will impact how much facilitators and students will enjoy the classroom,” according to workshop materials. “This TBL Primer is intended to give an introductory understanding of what works in TBL and tools for success to speed up the learning curve.”

Outcomes of the workshop were:

  • Explain TBL structure and function in the delivery of an active learning lesson plan.
  • Adapt previous lecture-based classroom materials to TBL.
  • Evaluate the role of stress and a positive classroom environment on learning and cognitive performance.

Unlike other seminars, participants were given materials in advance and expected to prepare before the event. This would also be the practice in the classroom. “TBL relies upon students’ motivation to prepare content prior to each class meeting so they can engage with other students in further processing the material. Classroom activities are usually highly animated!” Carter said.

FPU and CHSU have a partnership where FPU pre-pharmacy undergraduates transfer to CHSU after three years to complete the four-year doctorate of pharmacy program, saving one year of study and resulting in degrees from both universities. CHSU is the region’s only pharmacy school.

Will Ofstad, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE, CHSU Assistant Dean for Education and a certified TBL trainer, led the workshop, which took place on CHSU’s campus in Clovis December 16, 2016.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations