Flipping the Classroom

What is flipping the classroom?

Arguably, the most talked about teaching strategies in higher education today are “flipping the classroom” approaches. Flipping typically refers to approaches that require students to significantly engage with instructional content before coming to class. Class time is then spent engaging in activities other than traditional lecturing.  In some discussions, flipping has been framed as a panacea for all of the learning challenges faced by colleges and universities.  The reality is that successful flipping requires a great deal of creativity and planning, and simply pushing lecture content online is not an effective approach.  With that said, creative flipping can be a powerful instructional strategy.  

Why flip my classroom?

Well-designed flipped activities can prove to be an effective and rewarding instructional strategy that increases students’ time engaged with course material and can result in deeper learning.

How do I flip my classroom?

Those who are considering flipped pedagogies typically must address three broad questions:  

Pre-Class Activities

In the flipping model, the out of class activities and assignments provide students with opportunities to significantly engage with the content that will be more deeply explored in the upcoming class.   This pre-class engagement really should be designed to provide students with knowledge and information that will enable them to engage in a meaningful way during the upcoming class.  Ask yourself “what do my students need to know to be able to engage in the upcoming class?” and use the answer to that question to guide your development of the pre-class activities.  Watching videos or lectures, listening to podcasts, exploring online simulations, reading an article or chapter, engaging in discussion boards, reflective writing, and more are among the wide set of strategies faculty have available to them as they provide opportunities for students to engage with content before class.

Tools you can use:

Motivating Students to Engage Before Class

One of the criticisms of flipping the classroom is that many faculty are already finding that students aren’t completing readings and other homework before coming to class.  The concern is that if we add more homework in the form of media or other activities, students won’t engage with these assignments either.  How do we motivate our students to engage with the these additional homework activities?  One answer is the implementation of frequent quizzing.  These quizzes would be due prior to students coming to class.  Jose Bowen, author of Teaching Naked (2011), has found that quizzing that contributes to the final course grade motivates students to complete the pre-class activities and results in greater engage during in-class activities.  In addition to quizzing, you may consider other forms of assessment, such as 25-word summaries, engagement in discussion boards, etc.  All of which provide accountability for completing the pre-class assignments.

Tools you can use:

Strategies Other Than Lecturing

With appropriate, graded accountability measures in place, you can expect your students to come to class prepared to engage in your active classroom.  There is well over 30 years of research regarding the efficacy of active strategies.  A meta-analysis of these studies recently found support for a wide range of active learning approaches (Prince, 2004).  Such strategies provide a menu of sorts from which you might select your in-class approaches.  Instead of lecturing, you might consider Think-Pair-Share, self-assessments, minute-papers, peer reviews, case-based approaches, team-based and other collaborative approaches, role-playing, inquiry learning, and many other options.

Tools you can use:

The Center for Teaching and Learning is happy to work with you to develop strategies that will work for your discipline/course. Contact Sherry Clouser at sac@uga.edu or Carrie Bishop at cnbishop@uga.edu today for a consultation.