At the onset of COVID-19, the faculty team at the University of Bradford needed an all-in-one Team-based Learning (TBL) platform to switch their classes quickly to the online modality. Learn how InteDashboard helped the institution to transition to online TBL classes and make in-person classes more effective by providing real-time data to faculty members on student performance.
About the University of Bradford, Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) Curriculum
The University of Bradford is a public university located in England. In 2012, they became the first university in the United Kingdom to use Team-based Learning (TBL) across their Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) curriculum. Their TBL teaching model is recognized through the National Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) by AdvanceHE. The MPharm program offered at University of Bradford is one of the most popular pharmacy programs in the country and they are ranked among the top institutions in QS rankings. The average class size is 150-200 students.
Drivers of change from lecture-based classes to TBL classes
The School of Pharmacy at the University of Bradford decided to implement TBL in their MPharm Programme in 2012 due to several challenges that they faced:
Growing student numbers: The growing student numbers became extremely difficult to manage during lectures.
Disengaged and non-participatory students: Many students were not actively listening in classes and did not participate in discussions.
Lack of workforce skills developed among students: The lectures did not promote the necessary workforce skills, such as teamwork and critical thinking.
The faculty team made the decision to implement Team-based Learning due to the various advantages it provided for students, such as fostering student accountability, increasing class engagement, and enhancing students' workforce skills. They initially piloted TBL in one of their modules in 2012 and then gradually introduced it to students each year. The outcome was outstanding, with students achieving higher scores in their exams and expressing a greater level of enjoyment towards TBL classes compared to traditional lectures.
Overcoming Barriers to TBL Adoption: Strategies for Success
The adoption of Team-based Learning (TBL) by the faculty team was not without challenges, but they were able to overcome them through the following measures:
- Faculty training: To ensure successful implementation and scaling of TBL, the University enlisted the help of TBL experts, such as Larry Michaelsen, to conduct faculty training workshops. Additionally, the faculty team was provided access to a variety of other learning resources.
- Getting buy-in from the students: The University involved students in the program design and ensured students were aware of the TBL program during admission interviews.
- Getting buy-in from the leadership team: The decision-makers observed TBL classes to experience the value of TBL and analyzed classroom data to better understand the benefits of TBL in improving learning outcomes.
TBL in the University of Bradford MPharm Programme
TBL Classroom Set-up in University of Bradford
The structure of TBL classes at the MPharm program adheres to the TBL process, which includes prework, IRAT, TRAT, Applications, and Peer Evaluation. In addition, The faculty team introduced an optional Student Support Session where students can meet their teacher between the pre-reading and IRAT components to clarify doubts. To prevent students from exchanging answers during classes, the faculty team incorporated a ‘Rationale’ section in the Application component where the teams were awarded two points for the correct answer and eight points for providing the correct explanation. TBL activities were primarily conducted using the paper and print solutions.
Simon Twedell, Professor of Pharmacy Education, and Gemma Quinn, Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy, oversee the TBL efforts and faculty training in the pharmacy program at the University of Bradford.
Scaling TBL with InteDashboard
When COVID-19 hit, the faculty team decided to transition to online TBL classes. Although there were multiple tools available to conduct TBL online, relying on several different systems to conduct TBL activities and transfer data could have created several possible points of failure. It was essential to transition to a platform that would allow the faculty team to conduct all TBL activities in one place.
In 2020, the faculty team introduced InteDashboard, an all-in-one TBL platform, to teach their TBL classes. The switch to InteDashboard was straightforward and easy as the platform is intuitive and easy to navigate. The faculty team could now conduct online TBL classes effectively, manage large class sizes, and provide real-time feedback to students and teams.
The institution is now back to in-person classes and is still using InteDashboard to conduct in-person synchronous TBL classes.
InteDashboard has helped the team to:
- Save resources: The faculty team struggled with administrative work for their in-person TBL classes – teachers had to arrange the printing of IRAT and TRAT forms weeks in advance as mistakes in printing sometimes occurred. However, with InteDashboard, there is no need to print out the forms anymore and the feedback to students and teams is no longer delayed.
“It’s more sustainable now – there's less printing, less admin work, and saves a lot of time.” - said Dr. Simon Twedell, Professor of Pharmacy Education, University of Bradford
- Save faculty time by automating grading: Instructors can view student and team performance data holistically for all team-based learning activities in one place. All team-based activities are auto-graded upon submission.
Provide real-time feedback on student performance: InteDashboard provides real-time feedback on student performance, enabling instructors to easily identify and address students' trouble spots.
“InteDashboard has made a huge difference. We could have gone back to the way things were before we started using the software, but it would have been an absolute nightmare. The platform is great – it’s all in one place!” – said Dr. Gemma Quinn, Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy, University of Bradford
The University of Bradford has taught with TBL for over ten years. Students at the institution enjoy the TBL process and love using InteDashboard for their classes.