Flipping the Classroom

Although there are a variety of definitions, the flipped classroom can be described as an approach to teaching that aims to make the most of class time.  It does this by using out-of-class time for students’ interaction with course content, often in the form of reading assignments, recorded lectures, and/or videos. The face-to-face meetings are used to apply, analyze, and/or elaborate on the out-of-class content through student-centered and often hands-on activities. The term comes from the idea that this is a flipped version of a traditional classroom.  Instead of direct instruction in class followed by problem solving and writing for homework, the flipped classroom moves much of the direct instruction before class so the instructor can facilitate active learning in class.

Faculty Perspectives Video 1: In this episode, faculty members answer the questions: 

  • How do you describe flipping the classroom?
  • What aspects of flipping the classroom interest you most?
  • Were there any aspects of flipping that did not fit with your teaching style?

The following resources provide additional information on the basics of flipping the classroom:

Endicott College PDF on flipping basics: download

University of Texas at Austin webpage on flipping the classroom:

Planning for the Flipped Classroom

One of the appealing aspects of flipping the classroom is that it can be applied to a variety of courses throughout the disciplines.  The method can be implemented in introductory to advanced classes, and can be designed to meet the needs of various types of learners. Some faculty choose to flip select topics as a way to make room for activities and/or demonstrations that would otherwise not be possible.  Options include flipping an entire course, flipping one class a week, or one class a unit. Since there are countless ways to incorporate the flipped method into a course, it is important that the faculty member consider their content, their students, and their teaching philosophy when choosing activities and assignments.  If you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to start small and depending on how effective your students and you find it to be, you can scale it up for the following semester.

Faculty Perspectives Video 2: In this episode, faculty answer the questions: 

  • What class did you flip and why did you decide to try flipping the class?
  • What did the flipped method look like in your class?

When designing a flipped lesson, start with the learning objectives you hope to achieve.  It may be helpful to think of what you want students to know or do by the end of each activity.  The following questions are designed to focus and give direction to lesson planning.

Before Class-

  • What do you want students to be able to know or do before they come to class?
  • What resources (book chapter, video, etc.) will provide the content?
  • How can students self-check whether or not they understand the material?
  • How will students stay accountable for their learning outside of class?

Ideas for out of class content delivery

During Class

  • What do you want students to be able to know or do by the time they finish class?
  • What types of activities will assist students in applying material and practicing skills?
  • What misconceptions or places of frustration can be addressed?
  • How will the pre-class homework connect to the in-class activities?
  • What type of classroom management will make the activities go smoothly?
  • How will students be assessed?

Ideas for in-class activities

Flipped Classroom Logisitics

Faculty Perspectives Video 3: In this episode, faculty answer the questions: 

  • What types of activities did you incorporate during the face-to-face time?
  • What types of activities did you assign outside of class?
  • What role did technology take in the flipped method?

As with any student-centered teaching method, creating a positive classroom environment with student buy-in is an important component for the method's success. However, the increased student accountability may conflict with student expectations leading to resistance, pushback, or negative feedback. Here are some tips regarding student buy-in from blogger and Mathematics faculty member Robert Talbert.  The entire article can be accessed here.


Do Don't
  • Explain the workflow of the class to students in a clear way on Day 1 and remind students of that workflow on Days 2,3,4…
  • Take every opportunity to point to specific examples of student performance in the flipped class that illustrate those benefits
  • Solicit student feedback early and often
  • Make a production out of your use of the flipped classroom to your students
  • Assume that the benefits of the flipped classroom will be obvious, or even easily grasped, by students.
  • Hide from student opinions on the flipped design of the course

Additional readings
Blog post: Flipped learning skepticism: Is flipped learning just self-teaching? http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2014/04/28/flipped-learning-skepticism-is-flipped-learning-just-self-teaching/

Faculty Reflections

Faculty Perspectives Video 4: In this episode, faculty answer the questions:

  • How did students respond to the flipped method?
  • Were there any positive takeaways that you would continue to implement?

Faculty Perspectives Video 5: In this episode, faculty answer the questions: 

  • What challenges did you face when you flipped your class?
  • Can you explain why you would or would not flip your class again?
  • What suggestions would you give to a faculty member who was interested in flipping their class?

Additional resources for more information about the flipped classroom:
Flipped resources from other higher education institutions

Univeristy of Texas http://ctl.utexas.edu/teaching/flipping_a_class/how_to_flip

Articles on Flipping the Classroom

Finding “flippable” moments in your class: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/looking-for-flippable-moments-in-your-class/


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