Are flipped classes better?
Everywhere I look there’s more about flipped classrooms. The term began gaining popularity in 2007, but the idea has been around for a long time. Harvard professor Eric Mazur has been doing his version of it for over 20 years. The two key components are:
- First exposure before class – short video lectures (3-10 min.) that students can pause and replay
- Application in class – engaging problem-solving activities, often in groups, student-centered
Flipping is so popular that this byline seems almost heretical: Harvey Mudd professors’ research suggests ‘flipped’ classes might not be worth the hassle. The folks at Harvey Mudd are beginning an NSF study after preliminary work indicated no real gain. If a difference is shown, it will be hard to say why – the flip involves too many kinds of change. Perhaps it will all boil down to creating better in-class activities and producing high quality video.
Several good ideas from the flipped classroom
- Shifting emphasis from delivering content to applying concepts
- Moving from instructor-centered to student-centered
- Breaking down 50-minute lectures into short chunks
- Taking time to think about teaching and learning
- Changing a mindset
- Learning how to create videos
- Managing activity in large classes
- Accountability for viewing videos