Best Practices and Lessons Learned - 2015 CTL Fellows for Innovative Teaching

During the 2015 calendar year, 24  faculty engaged in a process of exploration, course design, and course delivery that focused on flipping the classroom.  At the end of the year, the Fellows gathered to share their thoughts on the experience.  What follows are highlights from their experiences, highlighting the successes, best practices, challenges and solutions, and final take aways from their respective experiences.  


This program was designed to provide faculty with support and resources to experiment with flipping the classroom structures and strategies. In general, the CTL Fellows found that flipping pushed students to engage in higher-level thinking and deeper processing than traditional, more lecture-based, models.  They found that flipping

Best Practices:

A range of best practices emerged from this learning community, and many are shared below:

Challenges and Solutions:

The Fellows encouraged unexpected challenges as they flipped their classes.  What follows are some of those challenges along with proposed solutions to those challenges.

In general, the Fellows found that students were not accustomed to the responsibility for learning that flipping requires. By having students initially encounter course material outside of class, making them responsible for it, and applying their new knowledge to activities in class, the flipping model countered students’ educational experiences and were sometime in conflict with their expectations for the course, requiring them to adjust and adapt to their more active roles in learning.  Students sometimes negatively viewed the activities as busy-work and resisted attending class to “work through problems.”

The Fellows realized that unless students were held accountable for the material learned and the assignments done outside of class, the majority of students would not come to class prepared for in-class activities.  It is also important to explain the learning benefits of the flipped method repeatedly as students are required to learn material outside of class and to work with course material in class. 

Video content was often a strategy employed by faculty to deliver content outside of class; however, several challenges were noted regarding the creation of video.  They included the following:

Recommendations for using videos in flipped courses include the following:

Interesting observations regarding grades emerged as part of these course redesigns as well:

Strategies for ensuring learning improves as intended include the following:

Class size impacts approaches to flipping:

Final Take Aways:

Ultimately, the elements that comprise successful flipping are also the elements of good teaching:  it is about using class time for active learning, which should happen in any class regardless of size and which some Fellows have been doing all along.