Teaching & Learning Champion Shannon Bui

Meet Shannon Bui, Professor, Pharmacy Technician Program!

by Alexa Haverlah, TLED Content Marketing Intern

Over Passionate Pharmacist 

Teaching has its perks for Shannon Bui, Professor of the Pharmacy Technician Program at ACC Eastview Campus and March 2021 Bravo Award Recipient.

As a Board Certified Sterile Compounding Pharmacist, Bui has the opportunity to travel all over the U.S. and to other countries to teach sterile compounding and chemotherapy courses to the U.S. Department of Defense. On one of her trips to Germany, Bui excitedly watched as a robot delivered the drugs she had prepared to Intensive Care Unit patients.

Bui’s first love is pediatrics. But when the opportunity to teach presented itself, she thought, what could be better than saving lives except for teaching people how to save lives?

Since 2013, Bui has taught in-person and distance learning courses in the field of pharmacy at ACC. “If you follow your passion, you’ll never work another day in your life,” says Bui. “I’m just a really over passionate pharmacist, I love what I do.”

Experience & Exposure at Vaccination Clinics

As a professor, Bui launches students into their interests by presenting them with hands-on opportunities in the field of pharmacy. One opportunity this past year is the vaccination clinics organized by ACC for ACC students, employees, and their family members and friends at least 12 years of age.

After a year of teaching online, the vaccination clinics were often the first time Bui saw her students face-to-face. At the vaccination clinics, students used their IV skills to draw up, reconstitute and dilute the Pfizer vaccine.

From witnessing the storage of the vaccine, students understood the importance of the expiration date and the timing of the distribution. Every single shot drawn must go into an arm before the six-hour expiration window expires.

Hands-on experience and exposure produce well-rounded pharmacy students. “Not only am I teaching them all the pharmacy concepts and what their role is going to be, or having them interact with a lot of healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, they also get to see that we participate in the community,” says Bui.

The chance to network with other technicians and pharmacists at the clinics has led to students obtaining internships or doing their practicums in pharmacies.

“This is what education is: creating opportunities,” says Bui. “We’re just the stepping-off point, it doesn’t end with us.”

Transformative Online Learning

Students also meet and network with other professionals in Bui’s virtual classroom. Bui has incorporated live feeds with colleagues from diverse backgrounds so that students see themselves represented in the pharmacy profession.

Pre-pandemic, guest lecturers simply walked into the classroom. Now, Bui’s students are virtually transported to the retail or hospital setting to watch a pharmacist in action as they explain over-the-counter medications, for example.

Observing other pharmacists in live feeds allow students to see why Bui asks them to “hard-wire” medications and pharmaceutical math calculations. The goal is for students to have these medications and calculations engrained by the time of the exam required of all students to become pharmacy technicians.

In addition to the clinics, labs are one of the other few times students interact with one another and Bui in person. Although it can be challenging to build relationships in online learning environments, Bui considers it her responsibility to initiate interaction between her and her students and between students.

During synchronous lectures, Bui places students into groups in Blackboard Collaborate to talk about current issues in pharmacy. For instance, students animatedly engaged in a discussion regarding blood clots from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the FDA studies and what they meant for patient populations.

“Our patient is our purpose, always,” says Bui. “In all of our decisions, we ask, what is the best thing for our patients?”

Diverse ACC students serve diverse patients, meaning their communication must also take on a wide, varied approach. To strengthen their communication skills, students practice giving patients all the information they need to take their medications and confirming the patient’s understanding of the instructions.

Growth Spurt

Teaching during a pandemic has a silver lining for Bui. Primarily an in-person instructor before, Bui says the pandemic forced her to utilize more of the tools ACC offers and resources from TLED.

Previously, Bui had mainly used Blackboard to submit grades, maybe a few homework assignments here and there. When the pandemic hit, Bui attended TLED workshops to utilize Blackboard more efficiently, including how to incorporate PowerPoint into her lessons and how to use VidGrid to record her lectures.

In her lectures using VidGrid, for example, Bui inserts pop-up questions that are tied to Blackboard, linking students to more information where they can review concepts they might have missed. Bui also watched self-paced recordings of TLED workshops related to engagement, such as enriching your teaching through having conversations and how to bring students into those conversations.

The pandemic has shown Bui what is not available to students, like consistent Wi-Fi or working technology. Or, her students might have to work longer due to the pandemic. To accommodate them, Bui moved her office hours to later in the evening.

To identify these challenges early on, Bui has changed how she checks in with students. She meets with each student individually during office hours before any grades are posted and throughout the semester.

Sometimes, Bui calls for a “face check” during class, asking students to turn on their cameras if able. “I miss you guys!” she tells them. Bui has received exceptional feedback from her students. “They love it,” she says of the live feeds and face checks.

Teaching online has been a huge moment of growth for Bui to meet the needs of all her students. As the College opens up for in-person classes this fall, Bui is looking forward to several more TLED workshops, live and recorded, on helping with equity and diversity in her classroom and with her syllabus.

“TLED has been my champion over this last year,” says Bui. “It’s made me able to highlight all the beautiful things I do.”

Connect with Shannon Bui via email: shannon.bui@austincc.edu

Recommend a Colleague:

Teaching & Learning Champions are faculty and staff who contribute to student learning (Guided Pathways Essential Practice #4). We share their stories to celebrate their dedication to instructional excellence & innovation in a series of spotlight articles. #ACCExcellence

Do you know someone who is a champion of teaching & learning? Send their name & why you’re nominating them to TLEDcomms@austincc.edu.