Mike Dodds, Department of Computer Science
Abstract | Presentation | Recording
The flipped classroom (or flipping) is a new educational technique which seeks to invert the traditional model of in-classroom lectures and out-of-class homework. Instead, it advocates in-class interactive group learning, and out-of-class instruction via videos or podcasts. Intuitively, this moves classroom time away from mere dissemination of information, and allows teachers to focus on solving student problems and enabling learning. This connects with the increasing evidence that problem-based learning is an effective teaching technique.
The intuition for flipping seems compelling, reflected in attention in the non-academic media. However, flipping is not trivial to apply. Applying it means restructuring the entire course to focus on group learning, while also recording supporting instructional material. Given the up-front costs, it is important to know whether flipping is truly effective before applying it in practice.
Mike presented the evidence that flipping is effective in improving student learning outcomes in STEM subjects, and also examined some of the pitfalls and opportunities flipping presents.
Within Computer Science, the example Mike referred to has been written up as a Case Study on Flipped Approaches where you can view the approach used by Dr Louis Rose with a third-year module.
For me there were two key discussion points: first on the time and workload of running a flipped learning course; second on how the structure of a flipped course can ensure student engagement. The two are intrinsically related.
Recording good video captures is something that will require practice, new technical skills and careful planning. As we discussed in the session, if you can break down the course content into short (5-10 minute) recordings, you are both thinking more carefully about the key learning points students should take away, and creating resources that are better adapted to students learning online. Short videos should not include tangential information, but deliver new knowledge in a succinct way. For each video, explicitly state what students should learn as a result. This enables students to judge for themselves whether they understood the new concepts. The risks of longer videos is that they try to convey too many points, and aside from that it can be difficult to watch a longer video without succumbing to other online distractions.
With shorter videos, clustered around specific topics, as an instructor you can include activities that relate to those videos requiring students to demonstrate their understanding through evaluation, collaboration and application. This can be in the form of a online quiz, or more aligned to the discipline practices, as shown in Computer Science where students had to take their understanding from video-lectures and apply to a programming task. There is a clear and designed-in link between the student work outside the face-to-face contact time and what they can achieve through activity and interaction in class.
If you are interested in the ideas presented by Mike Dodds, then please do watch the recordings from our recent ELDT Webinars and blog posts with further case studies and references on Flipped Learning Design and Flipped Learning Technical.
Matt Cornock (ELDT), Workshop Chair