Engaging students through a “flipped” classroom
Debbie Mitchell from the Department of Chemistry kicked off our first faculty showcase on September 23rd. Over twenty faculty and staff attended Debbie’s session about how she has spent the last few years converting her Chemistry course to a flipped classroom.
What is a “flipped” classroom?
Professor Mitchell shared the following definition of Flipped Learning:
A pedagogical approach where direct instruction moves from a group to an individual learning space. The group space is dynamic and interactive instead of a passive environment where students are lectured to for the majority of the class.
Debbie described how she first began by flipping one class per week, and found the approach so successful that she flipped her entire course this fall. She showed a few of the videos she has created for students to watch outside of class, staring from her earliest video using simple technology, and then showing more current videos that use more sophisticated software.
Debbie facilitated the session in the spirit of a flipped classroom – with participants using a worksheet to guide small and large group discussions. Participants at the session discussed how not only students but also instructors might benefit from a flipped or more active classroom environment – including better relationships with students and really getting to know their learning. Debbie and others referenced some of the research that supports a more active classroom environment.
One challenge discussed was student resistance to this teaching approach. Some suggested that you don’t necessarily want to use the term ‘flipping’ when describing your class. However, you do want to spend time explaining to students that they will be expected to view materials before coming to class and must be prepared to be actively engaged during class time.