Monthly Archives: July, 2013

To flip or not to flip, that is the question

As a hybrid or blended learning instructor should you flip your course? Here are a couple of considerations:.

  1. Moving content outside of the classroom allows for more class time to be spent on engaging learning activities such as peer instruction or active learning.
  2. Interactive teaching techniques, such as the two mentioned above, have been shown to improves learning outcomes .
  3. With new technology which can improve the facilitation content delivery, such as lecture capture, videos, podcasts and other online information, there are now more ways for learners to access information online. The lecture format is less essential to content delivery than it once was.
  4. Students surveys show that they often prefer courses that are hybrid. Students in these classes usually usually have a greater satisfaction with the courses.

Flipped Classrooms and the Flat Earth

An issue came up today in a professional development course I facilitate which presented an interesting question and I really started to re-think some things I have done in the past and also some things which I knew we should be doing but have lost sight of.

First, we have wanted to embrace the student centered course for a couple of reasons. We know that students in these types of environments often feel more engaged with the course and having greater feeling of connection with the learning and a greater responsibility for their role in the course. For the instructor we know that they have to embrace a new role as facilitator and guide rather than the “sage on the stage” as the saying goes isn’t easy and for many instructors who have been brought up under the top down model will need training to adjust.

Book cover

Thomas Friedman

The second issue is that what we lose sight of is that we are training students to enter the work force in the 21st Century. This is the information world, the flat world as Thomas Friedman called it in his book “The World is Flat”.  Its the realization that we live in a global community and that the flow of information, goods, and services is readily available. Any of us who were in college or grad school prior to the 1980s remember the stacks and stacks of books and periodicals. It was a time consuming process to do research in those days. What used to take me hours and hours to do among the stacks of books at the King Library at the University of Kentucky now takes much less time sitting at my home computer. But is this all good? No, because this free flow now includes information which was called by educational technology leader; Info-junk and info-garbage. Our role as instructors needs to change to also guide the students through the maze of technologies and information. We need to get them to the point where they are competent 21st Century employees in the 21st Century work environment. It is not enough to be scholarly, they must also have the 21st Century skills needed in the working world.

1. Learning and Innovation Skills

  •     Creativity and Innovation
  •     Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  •     Communication and Collaboration

2. Information, Media and Technology Skills

  •     Information Literacy
  •     Media Literacy
  •     Information and Communications Technology Literacy

3. Career Skills

Now what does this have to do with Flipped Classrooms? The flipped classroom provides us with the opportunity to introduce a collaborative learning environment to the students and at the same time allows the instructor to be the guide, to be that person who is a resource for the group. The classroom becomes the collaborative learning environment and a well constructed online portion of the course creates and environment which allows the student to explore and build on the understanding of the course topics. It challenges their thinking process and their creative ability. With the content challenge them to become learners, challenge them to think, be creative, and be critical then bring them together to assimilate all they have done.

There is much to be done here but I believe this can be a direction we can take which will be of huge benefit to the students.

Flipped Adjustments

I have been a fan of Faculty Focus for some time now, largely because the articles are contributed by working professionals. They are often practical and highly relevant to the current classroom. This week their “Focus” was on the flipped classroom. The article points out some very important issues centered around the student interaction in these courses and how students and the faculty take on different roles then in more traditional courses.

Check out the following link to this article:

Shift your thinking

As I prepare for a set of workshops with our Early Childhood Instructors in Miami I have to think about how the idea of the flipped classroom is a shift in thinking for many of them,. In many ways we have had a traditional model for teaching at our university which has been a top down approach. For our virtual courses we have been able to build to some degree of another a more student centered approach. Yet still there is some reliance on the “lecture” method for much of the content in the course. We have yet to really turn the corner on true learning community courses where the students become the teachers and the faculty member is the guide.

Hopefully as we work with the staff on “flipped courses” we are going to be able to show faculty that they can use a variety of resources to present issues to the students who can then research the issues and begin a conversation. Much of this would be done outside of class and would be preliminary to discussions conducted during class. Our hope is to increase the collaborative time spent in class and reduce the amount of “lecture” time and assign that as part of their outside of class activity.

What is a flipped classroom?

Effectiveness of Blended Learning in Higher Ed

Issue Brief: The Flipped Classroom
Increasing Instructional Effectiveness in Higher Education with Blended Learning Technology

Flipping lessons with TED Ed

The following video will take you through an overview of creating a complete interactive lesson with TED Ed. Accounts to use TED Ed are free and uses YouTube videos to create the lessons.


What is different about flipped classes?

What is the Flipped Classroom?

The flipped classroom is a teaching model that delivers instruction outside of class through interactive, teacher-created videos and moves “homework” to the classroom. Moving “lectures” outside of the classroom allows teachers to spend more 1:1 time with each student. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and work through problems with the guidance of their teachers and the support of their peers – creating a collaborative learning community type environment. As we will see this model also looks at redefining the lecture mode as something very different. The lecture in this model becomes a inquiry format which promotes student thinking and questioning.

I really like this video from TED Talks from a presentation by chemistry instructor Ramsey Musallam. He raises the interesting questions about the dehumanizing effects of the lecture format. The scripted lecture format as he suggests is a poor model for the basis of sound student learning principles. The results should be the raising the level of the discussion to that of problem solving and inquiry.