Week 5: The Flipped Classroom
Flipping the Classroom
In this module, you’ll explore the “flipped classroom,” an approach to STEM teaching and course design intended to make more time available during class for active learning. Module lead Derek Bruff, director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, will unpack the notion of a “flipped classroom,” address questions commonly asked about the idea by instructors, and compare the flipped approach to more traditional ones. Guest Robert Talbert, associate professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University, will provide an introduction to the use of screencasts in flipped classrooms.
After completing this module, you should be able to:
Identify elements of the “flipped classroom” approach to STEM teaching that distinguish it from more traditional approaches
Describe reasons why the question “Does the flipped classroom work?” can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”
Recognize that the use of lecturing should be limited in undergraduate STEM classrooms
Identify appropriate uses for screencasts in a sequence of STEM learning activities
Apply the “flipped classroom” framework to the design of a sequence of out-of-class and in-class STEM learning activities
Video 0.7.1 — Week 5 Introduction
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University and Dr. Trina McMahon from the University of Wisconsin introduce the concepts and content that will be covered in the first week of the course.
Why the Flipped Classroom?
Video 7.1.1 — Why the Flipped Classroom
In this video, Derek Bruff, director of the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, shares a framework for the “flipped classroom,” in which students gain a first exposure to a new topic before class, then spend class time engaged in the kind of practice and feedback that’s critical to learning. Bruff argues that the flipped classroom motivates an important question about teaching: How can we make the most of the relatively limited time we have with students during class?
Discussion: What questions do you have about the flipped classroom? What would make this approach challenging for you to implement in your courses? (If you’ve already watched the FAQ videos, you’re welcome to discuss the questions and answers mentioned in those videos.)
Flipped Classroom FAQ
Video 7.2.1 — FAQ: Question 1
In this series of videos, Derek Bruff addresses several questions about the flipped classroom that current and future faculty often ask, including: Does the flipped classroom work? How do you make sure students come to class prepared? What role should lectures play in learning?
Discussion: Share some research on the flipped classroom that you find interesting. You’re welcome to share research you’ve already encountered, or take some time now to seek out research on the flipped classroom, perhaps research conducted within your discipline. What conclusions do you draw from the research regarding how you might implement the flipped classroom in your teaching? What questions about the flipped classroom aren’t answered by the research you’ve shared?
Video 7.3.1 — Introduction to Screencasts
In this video, Robert Talbert, associate professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University, describes his approach to flipped learning and the role that screencasts serve in his courses to provide direct instruction, model expert problem solving, and prepare students for class.
Discussion: Assume for the moment that you felt fairly comfortable creating your own screencasts. Imagine a particular class session in a course you might teach. How might you use one or more screencasts to prepare students for practice and feedback during that class session? What basic learning objectives would the screencast(s) help students achieve? What more advanced learning objectives would you want to meet during class?
Video 7.3.2 — Making Screencasts Part 1: The Talking Head
The kind of video production one might use to support a flipped classroom can be intimidating to instructors. However, just about any instructor can get started creating useful explanatory videos. In this video, Robert Talbert walks through the process he used (as of 2014) to create “talking head” screencasts—short video presentations featuring slides and voiceover.
Video 7.3.3 — Making Screencasts Part 2: The Working Example
In this video, Robert Talbert walks through the process he used (as of 2014) to create “working example” screencasts—short videos that mimic the kind of presentations an instructor might give in the classroom with chalk board or white board. Note that Robert made this video and the two preceding videos himself, without the assistance of any videographer. This was done to demonstrate that creating explanatory videos is something that many instructors can do themselves.
Discussion: Return to the ideas you have for your own teaching-as-research project. What additional TAR ideas or questions has this module on the flipped classroom brought to mind? Post in the discussion below.
The Unflipped Classroom
Video 7.4.1 – The Unflipped Classroom
In this video, Derek Bruff shares his experience teaching a more traditionally structured mathematics course, after years of using the flipped approach in his teaching. This experience of “unflipping” his course highlighted some of the benefits of using the flipped approach.
Discussion: At many colleges and universities, teaching a face-to-face course means spending roughly 150 minutes a week with one’s students during class. The notion of the flipped classroom raises the important question: How can we make the most of the relatively limited time we have with students during class? How do you respond to that question?