Faculty Resistence to Flipped Classrooms

graphitecomic_flippedclassroom_600x600On occasion I find there is some resistance to the flipped classroom concept. This is not really surprising considering that faculty are often resistant to new things in general and there is often the fear that if it fails then they are accountable for that failure. This is understandable and considering the trends toward greater accountability. It is hard to convince them that the flipped class strategy is actually something with is going to allow them to improve their course. The other issue here is that we know flipped classrooms are going to create more up front work for the instructor. This is going to increase the resistance even more. Why should they do more work for something they do not have much faith it as an instructional strategy. If this is the nature of the pushback then what can be done to try to get people to even try the strategy?

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

One possible strategy is to try a unit out with an instructor who is open to the possibility. Make the unit or lesson manageable and keep it fairly simple. If there is a unit where the instructor could really benefit from more interaction in the face to face time this might be a good starting point for increasing the online video content and working on the classroom interaction.

2. Working with the skeptic.

It seems to be a simple approach to take the faculty member who is already using flipped classrooms or is open to the idea and take them and work on their courses. The problem with that is they do not carry the credibility with many of the more negative faculty. The negative ones are just going not going to buy into the work done by the “true believers”. They are just not going to drink the cool-aid that readily. Shoot for the person who is usually somewhat skeptical but may be open to some changes that would benefit the course. If you can get them on board then sometimes some of the nah-sayers will come along for the ride.

3. Appeal to logic.

Many instructors will respond to logic and research. While not all the research on flipped courses is good there is enough good stuff out there that you can make a valid argument for the use of the flipped course. University professors are often very “research oriented” so if you can validate the flipped position in the research many will at least give it consideration. That is half the battle along with some persistence. If you can get this far you may find a few takers who will at least try some of the ideas.


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