The flipped classroom is an approach involving student engagement in course material through videos, readings and other activities prior to class, with in-class time spent on application activities and feedback. This approach is reported to have a positive effect on student learning (van Alten et al., 2019), and varied effects on student satisfaction. For example, in a recent study, students reported rating flipped courses more highly than other types (Samuel, 2019) while a current meta-analysis showed no significant effect on student satisfaction (van Alten et al., 2019). These results may be seen due to a variety of contextual factors implicated in the implementation of the approach, as well as student- and instructor-specific factors. A summary of findings suggests that viewing videos outside of class is not the main mechanism by which enhanced learning occurs through the flipped approach, but rather through the in-class time allocated for active learning (DeLozier & Rhodes, 2017).
This resource provides a variety of recommendations for instructors interested in implementing the flipped approach.
“Take small steps.”
Start by flipping a significant portion of a course and evaluating the results. Given that both the instructor and students need time to adjust to the approach, allocating plenty of time for developing the course, and giving learners guidance and practice with the method is important. Consider these questions before choosing to flip:
“Curate or use existing course materials as appropriate.”
If high-quality materials are available and relevant to your course, consider gathering existing videos and assignments rather than initially creating all of them. Utilize readings from prior iterations of the course as relevant.
“Keep course materials well-organized and accessible.”
Be vigilant about utilizing an organizing structure for course materials through a learning management system such as Moodle so that students can easily find them. For example, ensure that course videos and other materials are logically arranged and have titles representative of the topic or concept. Also make sure that course material is accessible to students. See Creating Accessible Digital Materials for more information.
ESTABLISHING A POSITIVE CLASSROOM CULTURE
“Explain the rationale behind why the class will be taught with this approach.”
Be explicit as to why this teaching method is being utilized. Incorporate such reasoning on the course syllabus, and discuss it the first day of class. Below are a few approaches for fostering student buy-in that have worked for other instructors, or are generally promising. Consider if any of them, or a combination thereof, may work in your course with your students.
PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES AND ASSESSMENTS
“Use pre-class activities and assessments that align with learning outcomes.”
Example pre-class activities may include videos (kept short at 5 – 10 minutes), readings, interactive activities, and simulations.
“Discuss outlets where students can find support if confused about concepts in pre-class activities.”
Keep in mind that the goals of pre-class activities are prior exposure to material and not complete mastery, and discuss this idea with learners. Indicate how students can seek help if they are stuck on a particular topic or concept (e.g. office hours, online class discussion board or chats, e-mailing the professor, etc.).
“Incorporate short assessments.”
Assessing students at the beginning or prior to class can enhance student learning due to the testing effect (van Alten et al., 2019). Make an appoint to always have students answer a few questions during or after watching videos or completing other pre-class assignments. Questions can be delivered on a learning management system and scored automatically for ease of grading, or if in class, clickers (e.g. Poll Everywhere, Kahoot) can be utilized or conventional paper quizzes in smaller courses, or those with sufficient grading support. Most flipped classrooms see success with very short assessments (e.g. 5 min, 5-7 questions) at the beginning of class that are worth a low percentage of the grade (e.g. 5%). Instructors may also consider including pre-class activities and assessments as part of students’ class participation grades (Honeycutt, 2016a).
“Motivate student completion of pre-class work.”
Clearly establish at the beginning of the course that students are expected to complete the pre-class work. Be careful not to re-lecture on the material from the pre-class assignments, but rather serve as a guide. In addition to the assessments, another strategy to motivate students to complete their pre-class work includes requiring them to bring a “ticket” to class. An example “ticket” might be three questions they had about the pre-class activities that indicate where exactly in the material these questions were arose (Honeycutt, 2016b). To motivate unprepared students, some instructors have set up a corner in the classroom where students can finish their pre-class work, but must also complete in-class assignments in a timely manner (Honeycutt, 2016a).
IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES & ASSESSMENTS
“Design interactive, engaging, in-class activities aligned with learning objectives.”
These can take a variety of forms, and several examples are noted below. Additionally, consider existing activities and assessments.
Immediate feedback and assessment techniques (IF-AT)
Consider assessing the impact of using the approach by comparing student grades, perceptions on learning and attitudes between previous semesters with similar course content delivered using a different teaching method. Be open to making changes after learning which aspects are most successful.
Garver MS. (2016). Chapter 7: Flip Don’t Flop: Best Practices for Flipping Marketing Courses. In Best Practices for Flipping the College Classroom. JB Waldrop & MA Bowdon, Eds. New York: Routledge, p. 97-98.
Honeycutt B. (2016a). Five Ways to Motivate Unprepared Students in the Flipped Classroom. Available at: www.facultyfocus.com
Honeycutt B. (2016b). Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-class Work. Available at: www.facultyfocus.com
Waldrop JB & Bowdon MA. (2016). Best Practices for Flipping the College Classroom. New York: Routledge.