In this article, we describe and evaluate a flipped learning course for second-year students, involving an online component and a classroom component. It was experimental primarily because the course materials were originally designed for third-year students. A more minor aspect of the experiment was to teach the classroom component over a seven-week period in contrast to the intensive three-day way it was taught to third-year students. The success of the course was evaluated using both test results and student feedback in the form of both qualitative and quantitative data gathered from a feedback questionnaire.
Almost a third (35) of the second-year students completed the course, which took place in October and November 2018. Of the 35 students, 31 passed the final-day tests first time. A major part of the tests consisted of a 50-item multiple choice vocabulary test, and the average student score was 75.8 percent with a standard deviation of 16.1. The same test was given to third-year students in their September 2018 intensive course; here, the average score was 80.1 percent with a standard deviation of 14.7. An unpaired two-sample t-test using R showed no significant difference between the two data sets (t(53)=1.399 p>.05), indicating that second-year students could cope just as well as third-year students in relation to medical terminology.
Data from the quantitative feedback shows that student motivation was very high, the students considered that the course was useful, and the teaching and materials were clear. Qualitative data indicated that a few students considered the course to be too difficult. There were also some minor weaknesses relating to teaching materials.
Overall, the experimental course can be considered a success, indicating that a significant proportion of second-year students are keen to study medical English earlier than the third year, and that they have the ability to do so. A key factor in the success of the course is considered to be the timing of it: Second-year students had a good knowledge of anatomy and physiology by the time they took the course, which gave them the schematic knowledge to be successful in their medical English studies. Also, because the course had less time pressure than the current third-year intensive course, it created the space to focus on affixes and roots in relation to medical terms. In conclusion, we consider that teaching medical English in the second year is valuable but not necessarily suitable for all students, so that the opportunity to take such a course should be available in both the second and third grades.