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CTL Faculty E-Newsletter

Innovative Pedagogy:

The Flipped Classroom
by Susan Hess

What would happen if your classroom became a problem-solving studio?  Or if all 55 minutes of your MWF class period every week were devoted to practice problems because students were viewing lectures online before class time?  Or if students debated their analyses of a case study every Tuesday, then presented their group's solution every Thursday?

These are the kinds of classes that might happen using the “flipped classroom” model.  The term is used to describe almost any teaching/learning situation that reverses traditional homework and in-class activities.

Many times, the flipped classroom starts with online lectures: on their own time, students watch a lecture capture or other online lecture model; in class, they discuss, debate, or practice the concepts covered in the lecture. 

Other flipped-class models might take different forms: students might be assigned a combination of textbook readings and lecture notes to master, then be expected to craft questions that would form the basis for the next day’s class discussion.  Blended models use a flipped structure for a portion of classes—say, interactive lecture on Monday and Wednesday, application on Fridays.

Why flip the classroom?  When we use class as time to apply course content, rather than as time to introduce it, we gain insight into student thought processes and difficulties, we can give real-time feedback while students are practicing their skills, and students gain better mastery of course concepts. 

And the flipped model divides the responsibility for students’ learning more effectively:  it puts more of the responsibility on the students. 

Here are some resources for more information about the flipped classroom:
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf
http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-flipped-classrooms
http://www.scoop.it/t/the-flipped-classroom