- Teaching Resources
- Flipping the Classroom
Flipping the Classroom
What is It?
Reversing the traditional model of teaching—lecture followed by homework—flipped instruction means that, before attending class, students engage in knowledge transfer or "first exposure" activities such as reading, listening to, or viewing a lecture. This may be followed by a short assessment either before the next class (e.g. an online quiz or assignment) or at the beginning of the class. Then, during class time, students can engage in more participatory activities such as problem-solving clinics, peer instruction, debates, labs, or working on assignments with direct instructor/TA support.
Like the best studio session or lab, the flipped classroom invites students to shift from being a passive presence in the classroom to becoming engaged, active participants in the learning process.
Although, this instructional model has been in practice in some disciplines for over 20 years, its recent surge in adoption is due, in part, because of the availability of new technologies such as easy-to-learn screencasting software for recording lectures and perhaps in part due to high-profile media stories, such as Turning Education Upside Down–The New York Times (Rosenberg, 2013) and How ‘Flipping’ the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture–The Chronicle of Higher Education (Berrett, 2012)
Why do it?
- Moving content delivery outside the class frees up in-class time for collaboration, inquiry-based learning, peer instruction, and contact time between students and teachers.
- It encourages students to become responsible and active participants in their own learning.
- Content is available for review or remediation. While some students may take good notes during a lecture, having the lecture, or highlights of it, available for later review can help students reconnect to that content.
- It integrates well with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
How to do it
Keep in mind that there is no single right way to implement the flipped method of instruction. Your students can benefit from even small modifications, such as incorporating more active learning techniques into the classroom and/or moving only some of the information dissemination outside of class. Whether you want to start out slowly or plan a complete course redesign, the Center for Teaching & Learning can consult with you on how to proceed. To start, we suggest that you consider points of the course where students typically need review or clarification, or where the class dynamic seems “flat“ e.g., having poor attendance, low engagement, or evidence of decreased learning. A few approaches are to:
- move some of your introductory or review content out of the classroom. Create videos of your lectures, or parts of them, going into more detail on concepts that you know your students struggle with, historically. This allow students to “rewind the teacher” and review the content at their own pace.
- try implementing some active learning techniques into your classroom teaching, such as:
- » Question Box / Muddiest Point
Ask students to anonymously write down on a piece of paper something from the lesson that's unclear to them, a question they have about the content, or a problem they need help with. They can drop their questions into the box as they enter class (or at the end of class). Spend some time during each class time drawing from the box and answering the questions.
- » Jigsaw Exercise
There's more than one way to conduct this exercise. Here's a brief description and example of one of the ways it can be done. This activity has two parts.Part 1: The instructor identifies a list of topics (that are complex enough to be sufficiently challenging, while simple and focused enough to be manageable for this exercise). The students are organized into "expert groups" and are assigned one of the topics from the list. The goal is that they will become experts in that topic by researching, discussing, and preparing themselves to teach what they've learned to other students in the class.
Part 2: After the expert groups have had time to develop some expertise and prepare a lesson on their topic, they split up and the class forms into new "jigsaw groups" which consist of one member from each expert group. This allows each student in the jigsaw group to teach the others what they learned in their expert group.
For example, the instructor of an 18th C. English Lit class chooses five poets: Percy, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, and Coleridge. This means there will be five "expert groups," each studying one of these poets, instructed to focus on biographical information as well as looking into their work for themes of nature, idealism, and revolution.
Because there were five expert topic groups, there will be only five students in each jigsaw group. (Therefore, depending on the size of the overall class, there may be many jigsaw groups. Having only five students in each jigsaw group ensures that every student gets a chance to teach what they've learned.) The faculty/TAs move around the room listening and ensuring accuracy. Members of the jigsaw groups may be asked to complete brief evaluations of one another's lessons.
- » Think-Pair-Share
- This technique is one in which students are given a question or problem to quietly think (or write) about. Then they turn to a neighbor and discuss their responses. Pairs can then volunteer or be randomly called upon to share their ideas or demonstrate their problem solutions to the whole class. This can work well with clickers (read about clickers here) if a question is posed before and after to track how the pair/share process changes understanding or perspective.
- » Classroom Debates
- Classroom debates require students to learn about a subject from more than one perspective, to be able to think critically about it, and to be able to formulate and express persuasive arguments and counter-arguments. Tips for conducting a classroom debate can be found at eHow: How to Conduct a Classroom Debate. and Hold a Class Debate. A sample debate rubric can be found here.
How to get help
Please check the CTL calendar of events because we offer workshops each semester on both the flipped classroom and screencasting. To consult with an individual member of the CTL staff on how to implement flipped instruction, write to email@example.com. For help with screencasting software, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles and Resources
Video: Aaron Sams explaining why he flipped his classroom
Video: Flipped/Mastery Educational Model: Student Impressions, Jonathan Bergman & Aaron Sams
From The New York Times
» Turning Education Upside Down (Rosenberg 2013)
» Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom With The New York Times (Epstein Ojalvo, Doyne. 2011)
From The Chronicle of Higher Education
» How "Flipping" the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture and
» Getting Students to Do the Reading: Pre-Class Quizzes
From The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning
» The Flipped Classroom FAQ (Bruff 2013)
From USA Today
» 'Flipped classrooms' may not have any impact on learning
» Rebuttal/clarification of above USA Today article from e-Literate
From The Flipped Learning Network
» Literature Review of Flipped Learning [PDF-21page] (Hamdan, McKnight, McKnight, Arfstrom. 2013)
» The Flipped Learning Network website
The mission of the Flipped Learning Network is to provide educators with the knowledge, skills, and resources to successfully implement Flipped Learning. The network site is focused on a k-12 audience, but is a helpful resource for higher education, as well.
From The Center for Digital Education
» The Flipped Classroom Increasing Instructional Effectiveness in Higher Education with Blended Learning Technology [PDF-4page]
From Campus Technology
» Flipping To Adapt to Multiple Learning Styles at Minnesota State University (Quirk Dorr. 2013)
» 6 Expert Tips for Flipping the Classroom (Demski. 2013)
From North Carolina State University Friday Institute
» FIZZ: Flipping the Classroom
From Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
» Flipping the Classroom (Brame)