Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Negative aspects of flipped classrooms.

I have been asked several times about any potential or actual negative aspects of creating flipped classrooms. There are several which could be deadly to your course if they are not accounted for. In this posting I will try to hit on a couple of the negatives of flipping your classroom. Keep in mind these can be overcome with careful planning.

The flipped classroom is a model that if it is not treated correctly could cause some significant problems. Although simple in design, an effective flipped classroom requires careful preparation. Recording lectures requires effort and time with careful consideration to the overall learning outcomes for the course. It is extremely important that your use of video is “on point”. The out-of-class and in-class elements must be carefully integrated for students to understand the concepts and be motivated to prepare for class. Students must be motivated to complete the out-of-class portions on their own and be prepared to integrate what they have learned with the in-class activities. As a result, introducing a flipped classroom can mean more up-front work and may require new skills for the instructor. Careful planning and rolling out course changes might help the instructor and the students orient to this new format.

On the student side some students, may miss the loss of face-to-face lectures, particularly if they have had many traditional courses and lack the experience with more student centered classroom.  Students with this experience may not appreciate the value of a more hands-on student centered approach of the flipped model. Students at at first may not appreciate a class that focuses on activities and might miss the real value of the flipped classroom. Even where students embrace the flipped model, their technology and internet access might not always support reliable delivery of the course video which is critical to making the model work.

Are videos enough? Passive or Active learning.

It sounds pretty easy to just put a few lecture videos in your flipped course for the students to watch between classes. We have seen with some simple equipment or with screencasting we can accomplish this. But the video itself is only part of the answer. We have no idea whether the students are watching these or not and its going to be a week or two, depending on your class schedule when you will meet with them again. This is an issue not only for the hybrid flipped course instructor but for the online instructor who may have uploaded an number of videos which align with his course and program objectives but these may very well be passive activities for the students. For the student to be actively engaged with the material they need to have some activities associated with the videos which check their understanding of the content. just like you would with any instructional activity, you must build in reflective activities to have students think about what they learned, How do we check them on the relevance of what they are watching?

Reflection should be a part of your regular classroom environment and if these procedures are not implemented in the flipped classroom then the videos all become passive assignments and they will not be effective.  Students need time to reflect on what they have been watching to connect content to objectives, Videos will need associated activities which will challenge the students thinking and provides an opportunity for the instructor to assess the students progress.