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Bei Zhang - BLD 498


"A successful facilitator has to fulfill multiple roles."

- Bei Zhang -

BLD498 Focused Problems in Clinical Laboratory Science is a senior level, comprehensive course offered to the students majoring clinical laboratory science in the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostic program, a program that educates clinical lab scientists who will be dealing all the lab tests ordered by the physicians in the clinical setting on daily basis. The course is a combination of lecture and lab, with the wet/dry laboratory sessions being an integral part of the course. It is a review of fundamental knowledge and lab skills across several major subjects of clinical laboratory medicine including clinical chemistry, clinical immunology, clinical microbiology, hematology, as well as lab management. The course is designed to prepare students for their internships in hospital labs, as well as to get them ready to be certified as medical laboratory scientists by taking the licensure exam. The course is divided into different sessions based on the subjects that are taught by several instructors independently. The hematology session of the course takes the mid-five weeks of the whole spring semester.

Previously, the hematology session was delivered in a format of problem/case-based learning in a traditional classroom setting. The hematology cases of various topics were presented at the beginning of each class. Students were asked to solve the cases and write out the lab reports through group work. The instructor then explained the case and clarified the testing results. Students performance were assessed by quizzes, lab data analysis write-ups and the exams. Students often experienced lots of difficulties and frustration when resolving the cases due to lack of comprehensive knowledge of particular topics and problem-solving skills, as well as being overwhelmed by the large volume of the reading material before the class.

The session has been renovated by taking the advantages of several web tools and technologies: Softchalk, PlayPosit, Panoptiq, Camtasia, Educreations, iClicker, and D2L. The creative combinational use of a variety of tools creates self-paced interactive lessons or lectures that prepare students well before they come to the face to face classroom, where they resolve the sophisticated case problems through both individual and team effort. The course is therefore completely flipped and runs as a "fluid collaboration" in a format of team-based learning.

There is no doubt extensive design work needed to be done beforehand in order to flip a classroom elegantly and successfully. Motivating students to prepare for the class has been a constant challenge when flipping a class. A successful facilitator has to fulfill multiple roles as the course designer, mentor, role model, communicator and even technical support.

To renovate the hematology session of BLD498, a series of Softchalk lessons are designed and developed to help students grasp the basic and clinical concepts in diagnostic medicine before coming to the flipped class for team-based learning. these lessons, students learn how to validate and interpret the clinical tests results such as CBC by integrating their skills and knowledge from math, basic medical science as well as clinical laboratory science. The lessons are designed for students to learn to interpret the test results step by step by following the instructor repetitively while exploring the basic and clinical concepts in hematology. Students’ learning and practice are recorded and graded instantly as they work through a variety of quiz problems (multiple choice, short answer, essay, matching, ordering, true/false, etc.) and exercise activities (crosswords, drag and drop, identify, labeling, sorting, etc.) embedded in the lessons. The interactive Softchalk lessons allow students to check their learning constantly and to learn from their own mistakes immediately. An example of the Softchalk lessons can be retrieved from the following link:

Technologies Used

Team Members

Bei Zhang - Teaching Specialist