Wellness offers 'flipped classroom' experience catered to multidisciplinary content

News from NKU

For immediate release…
Wednesday – Jan. 30, 2013

NKU Wellness Offers 'Flipped Classroom'
Experience Catered to Multidisciplinary Content

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – If weight fluctuation boils down to “energy in, energy out,” is what we eat as important as how much we eat? When it comes to health, in what ways does your zip code matter more than your genetic code? How important is it that physicians or nurses model a commitment to their personal health?

These are just a few examples of open-ended questions posed to students through a Northern Kentucky University wellness initiative called "The Weight of the Nation: A Dialogue Connecting Curriculum to Real-World Issues."

Last fall, NKU Wellness piloted the program created from the HBO documentary sweeping the nation, titled The Weight of the Nation. The series challenges and empowers everyone to approach positive solutions for the obesity epidemic in the United States, and NKU Wellness has taken it into the classroom.

Through critical thinking and constructive dialogue, students explore their future professional roles and how they might create positive change for this public health issue.

"The Weight of the Nation: A Dialogue Connecting Curriculum to Real-World Issues" utilizes the cutting-edge pedagogy referred to as a “flipped classroom.” Students first complete a comprehensive exploration of the obesity topic outside of class by watching the portion of The Weight of the Nation documentary titled “Challenges.”

In this way, the responsibility of exposure to a new concept is shifted to the student outside of the classroom, which frees a full class period for applied discussion or activity instead of lecture. In this wellness curriculum infusion, the applied activity is a series of predetermined critical-thought provoking questions catered to the existing syllabus of a participating course.

A “Take Action” assignment is the icing on the cake (no pun intended) that prompts students to further apply what they have learned in a brief letter and/or reflection. Anecdotal evidence from the “Take Action” assignment last fall confirms that the topic of obesity and the “flipped classroom” format inspire interesting dialogue among students, and faculty members agree that it is a unique and effective classroom tool.

“This dialogue truly planted some thought-provoking seeds for my students to consider,” said Jim Bradtmueller, who used the concept in his Introduction to Construction Management course. “Especially as freshmen, this exercise was good for broadening their awareness of an important issue that they otherwise might not take the time to contemplate.”

From sports business to environmental science, from human nutrition to construction management, emerging leaders should be able to think critically and constructively about social issues.

For more information, contact NKU Student Wellness Manager Rachel Bishop at bishopr2@nku.edu.

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