OneNewThing: Flipping the classroom in the Counseling Psychology Department

OneNewThing: Flipping the classroom in the Counseling Psychology Department

What were you trying to change or solve? Identify the aspect of teaching and/or learning that you were attempting to improve or the challenge you were attempting to address by implementing your project.

This past Winter quarter (2017), I taught Health Disparities, a new course in the Counseling Psychology Department. The course is an elective, with only 50 minutes of class time per week. It was challenging to think of a framework that would take fullest advantage of every student’s talent and ability to contribute to addressing health disparities. I knew that student active participation in class would be key to their learning, but I struggled to see how to fit lecturing plus discussion of materials and hands-on activities in 50 minutes.

What did you do? Briefly explain your technique/strategy/idea/tool/activity. Include a description of what the students did differently (for example; how they interacted with you, each other, and/or the learning environment) and your role.

In consultation with OTL, we decided that a flipped classroom model was the best way to approach the course. Every week, students viewed short video lectures at home, before the class session, and in-class time was devoted to development of and participation in a quarter-long photo voice project. The video lectures were the key ingredient of the class. They were created with Zoom and posted on Canvas. Students could easily access them and complete follow-up associated quizzes (also on Canvas). During class sessions, I functioned as a coach or facilitator, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort as the photo voice project unveiled. Progressively, students felt more empowered to run the class when we were in the classroom. Results of the photo voice were posted in a class-generated DU Portfolio at the end of the quarter.

How did it go, and what did you learn? Describe how the students responded, what learning improvements you see or can infer, the aspects of the method that were most difficult or surprising, and the potential challenges that others might face. What advice would you give to someone and/or what would you do differently next time?

Recording the lectures is somewhat time-consuming. Yet, the video lectures were surprisingly easy to create and upload, despite my initial anxiety. Students reported liking the online lectures, as they were brief but comprehensive and easily accessible for them. They also were excited to work collaboratively on the photo voice project and have space/time to share their photos every week. Therefore, I feel encouraged to continue recording some of my lectures in the future, to save class time for hands-on activities.

Roncoroni, Julia , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Counseling Psychology Department
Morgridge College of Education
University of Denver



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