Rosemary Holley Flipped Learning Story

Video Interview with Rosemary Holley, Dental Assistant Program

Flipped Class Project – Semester I

During the first semester of the dental assistant program the students learn about the ideal physical and chemical properties of dental materials and to describe how the properties relate to specific categories of materials. This has traditionally been the focus of the first class on dental materials, and it is common for the student to be successful in learning this theory.

The struggle for the students occurs when they are asked to apply what they know about materials to the actual placement of materials.

This year, the students were asked to prepare for class by completing selected readings in the text about the properties and categories of materials and by watching a video on You-tube related to material placement in a cavity preparation. Upon arrival to class they completed a short quiz to check for understanding of the various properties of materials and time was allowed to review areas that were unclear. This took about 20 minutes of a 90 minute class.

The students were then divided into groups and given a handout that described the various depths of cavity preparations and asked to determine which material properties were needed to help repair the loss of structures within the tooth. By applying the properties of materials to the problem they were able to understand which category of material belonged at each phase of the cavity preparation, and by participating in the discussions they were able to use class time and the expertise of the instructor to deepen their learning.

In a second flipped class, the students were not as prepared as for the first, however I still asked them to continue with the planned exercise of creating a chart that divided the properties and categories of material with common brand names found in a dental office setting. I found that the students could tell me where a liner would go in a cavity prep and why, but had difficulty picking out the brand name of a commonly used liner. I believe it is because many of the materials with the same properties are used for different applications within the cavity preparation.

Flipped Class Project – Semester II

In semester two I teach a dental records management course that introduces students to the role of a receptionist in a dental office. In the past, I have found that students are not as engaged in this course as they are in the courses that have to do with direct patient care.

In order to make the course more engaging, I started by introducing a fictitious family to the students with the intention of having the various members of the family ‘interact’ with the students as they passed through the stages of a dental appointments. (booking appointments, planning for treatment, giving cost estimates, processing insurance claims and so on.)

For this course I decided not to flip the whole class, but rather I am choosing to flip specific portions of a class. I did this because of feedback from the students about the amount of reading and research (e.g. you tube videos etc.) they were being asked to do, and the amount of preparation involved for all of the courses in the cohort.
The first flipped portion was in a class about treatment plans and fee codes. Both fee codes and treatment plans had been introduced in a semester one course. Usually, I revisit the theory in class rather than give the students a take home assignment. This time, I asked the students to review the information and told them we would be using it in a different context.

During the class I introduced the fictitious family and assigned them certain treatments. I asked the students to work in pairs and create a treatment plan for each family member, with the fees included. This was done as an in class exercise which allowed me to answer questions and clear up misconceptions as they arose. This helped cement the students understanding of the fee structure of procedures and the importance of recording suggested treatment plans. The assignment was handed in and marked.

The second flipped portion was in a class about insurance claims. I prepared a vocabulary list for the students and handed out two articles on how insurance plans work in a dental office setting. They also had some short textbook reading to do and a 20 question multiple choice quiz that they would need to complete as a ‘ticket in the door” to class. They recorded their answers on Scantron cards. At the beginning of the class I collected the cards and ran them through the scanner. I also used an item analysis form so I could tell right away which questions they struggled with. I handed the cards back to the students and clarified the answers as needed.

Once we were all comfortable with their comprehension of the subject, I moved onto the assignment, which was a complicated insurance claim that involved the fictitious family previously introduced. The students worked on the claim individually, but I encouraged them to discuss it with their peers or with me as needed. They were able to work through the claim and hand it in at the end of the class.


Results for Students: By flipping the class and having the students focus on the theoretical properties of materials or procedural aspects of records management outside of class, and having them work on exercises in class to process and apply the knowledge, they were able to incorporate what they had learned on their own into practice. They were also able to answer case-based stories on the exam, something that previous classes had difficulty doing. This was evidenced by comparing exam results from previous years before I flipped any classes: the results were higher for this year.

Results for me as instructor: Using a flipped class has allowed me to go beyond “just the facts”. I was able engage with students and help them develop a deeper understanding of the subject. I have a better idea of what they know and where they are still struggling. My challenge for next years’ ‘Materials’ class will be determining a way to connect the various brand names and formulations of materials to the properties needed at each stage of a cavity. I already have an idea of how to do this and am looking forward to applying it.