Many of us who studied biology before the 2010s would have attended lectures that were designed to transfer information to us, making us passive learners in the process. Memorizing facts was sufficient to excel in the exams, but it did not encourage critical thinking. As lecturers at SUTD, we were presented with a unique opportunity to change the way biology is taught in the classroom. I was part of the pioneering team that designed a fascinating blended learning approach, injecting flipped classroom into the “Introduction to Biology” curriculum. This teaching approach could potentially help to increase conceptual understanding, develop higher level critical-thinking skills, and enhance students’ interest in biology. This would have the greatest impact on our freshmore students at SUTD, who are likely not to have a background in biology during their pre-university education. I will present our comprehensive inquiry-based research on blended learning, starting with conception, preparation of lesson materials, choice of assessment methods and data analysis.
Dr. Rai received her honor’s and doctoral degrees from the National University of Singapore in Microbiology and Bioengineering respectively, with Georgia Institute of Technology contributing to part of her Ph.D. thesis. After her PhD, she worked briefly at a local biomaterial company (Osteopore International) and completed two post-doctoral stints at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN, University of Queensland, Australia) and the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB, A*STAR, Singapore). Dr. Rai has been awarded 14 research/academic awards and is currently a Lecturer, Science, Mathematics and Technology Cluster, at SUTD and teaches introductory biology and chemistry at the freshmore level while actively engaged in pedagogy-based research at SUTD.