Faculty, General Education

Nicole Grasse

Assistant Professor, General Education

Our Stance

The main attribute of “flipping the class” is the ability on faculty’s part to give in-the-moment feedback to students. This is the primary reason we believe faculty should employ the flipped classroom method. Faculty can guide and coach students in real-time as students seek to apply their knowledge and skills.  

A flipped classroom is one where the content typically delivered in class is instead delivered out of class, while the work typically done after class is instead done in class. Practically, this means that content such as lectures, for instance, are delivered by video to students, who watch those videos outside of class, while what is traditionally considered homework, as well as other interactive learning activities, is done in class and so under the more direct supervision of the teacher.  


The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model where first exposure to content is done outside of the classroom. Flipped classroom content is often delivered digitally, although sometimes can be delivered in hard-copy form as well. In class, students will work on written assignments or longer term projects, which are guided by the teacher and, where available, teacher aides or tutors. In regards to Bloom's Taxonomy, students will be working on lower-level skills such as remembering and understanding outside of class, while working on higher level skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating inside of class, with the teacher in-person to guide this development.    


For instructors

The advantages of the flipped classroom are myriad. Cleared of the responsibility to deliver content, the teacher may spend much more time working with students on a more individual basis. In theory, this interaction should benefit the teacher, in that the teacher is better able to understand in real-time where students are struggling in acquiring a particular skill. Feedback for the teacher in the flipped classroom scenario is more immediate.   

I'd rephrase to "a more individual basis," as "one-on-one" could sound daunting to some people. Flipped would allow for more attention to each student, even in a small group setting where we can get a better sense of where each one is.

For students

One of the advantages for a student is that she has more control over the learning done in a class. For instance, if the student does not quite grasp some element of the video content, she may go back over the video and re-watch the relevant part of it. Another advantage of the flipped classroom is that it allows for more collaboration between students due an increase in dedicated in-class time to work ongroup projects. A third advantage of the flipped classroom is that it allows for a variety of learning styles. Content may be delivered via written text, video, audio, or even an infographic. Finally, this more sophisticated use of technology better prepares students for the 21st century.     


 With any new pedagogical method, there are going to be obstacles.  


As noted above, the flipped classroom model works optimally when the student has access to a computer, tablet, or smart phone in order to interact with the content. Not every student may have this kind of access. If that is the case, the teacher (or school) must make dedicated time for students to have this access in one of the school's computer labs. Schools have also, for instance, bought tablets that students may check out during the period of term.  


First, there is already much quality video content on the web and teachers are free to use this in their classes. If a teacher wishes to make her own videos, she doesn’t have to be too worried about the aesthetic quality of the content. In other words, the video by which a teacher delivers content need not be Oscar-winning in its quality. It is important to think about how long you wish the video to be and what it will look like, but it is equally important for teachers to appear natural in their videos, to appear as they are in-person with their students.  

Students not doing the work

What do you do if a student doesn't prepare for class? In the flipped classroom scenario, each teacher will have to decide how best to motivate students to consume the content. Perhaps a question will appear at the end of a video that a student must answer to show that she has watched the video. Vialogues, Edpuzzle, and Educannon are tools a teacher can use to embed these quizzes. Or perhaps the teacher will conduct a quiz at the beginning of all or specific classes. There are many ways to motivate students of course and these apply to the flipped class in some of the same ways as they to do any kind of class.    


At first, the flipped classroom model may require more preparation time for the teacher. There will be the time needed to either curate or prepare video, audio, and textual content for the class. There is also the time required to prepare for what is now to occur in the blocks of class the teacher is responsible for. However, once implemented, the flipped model should allow for less time spent grading outside of class as much of that assessment work will be done in-class.  


Starting small

Given the relative novelty of the flipped classroom, it would make sense for the teacher new to the flipped classroom concept to first attempt the model with just one lesson. Depending on how this goes, the teacher may move onto a unit of the course. Finally, then, after this experimentation, the teacher might implement the flipped classroom across the entire course.  
The flipped classroom is going to require most teachers to conceptualize their material for digital delivery. This takes time. It should be assumed that new assignments will have to be thought up and fresh approaches to determine whether students have retained what has been delivered.  
The teacher does not have to create all the content for class. There is a wealth of available content on the web that might be suitable to one's class.  

Steps to start flipping your classroom

  1.  Choose one unit or two upcoming units
  2.  Determine learning objective for the unit(s)
  3.  Determine activities to assess/measure that objective (could be the same activities they already do if they are effective)
  4. Look at what content needs to be delivered through whole group direct instruction in class and offload it to a video, podcast, etc. (at the beginning, it is alright to use someone else's video, but eventually, they should make their own)
  5. Determine a simple, reasonable way to hold students accountable for the content and clearly make the expectation known to students
  6. Be prepared to help students with technology issue
  7. Be organized and remember to talk to ask many students as possible (preferably all) every day of the unit.