What is Flipping?

The traditional / common approach to curriculum delivery is to use contact time for basic knowledge transmission (lecturing) and then provide independent learning activities to enable students to apply or discuss this knowledge, critically analyse it or extend it for instance through projects, coursework or exam revision.

In an interesting flip to the traditional classroom script, teachers can assign the videos and interactive online exercises for home and do what used to be homework in the classroom. By removing the one-size-fits all lecture from the classroom and letting students do work and interact with each other in class, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom.” (Salman Khan, 2011)

So, Flipping is an approach that inverts the traditional way of teaching by delivering content outside the classroom and using face-to-face time for tackling the more difficult concepts, for problem-solving, discussion and other application of the material.

View an Infographic on Flipped Learning

How does it work?

Content might be delivered using short videos or texts, with quizzes and other online activities to ensure independent learning takes place in preparation for scheduled contact time. The key feature of a flipped lecture or classroom is that this material is provided and studied before face-to-face contact time (lecture). Thus, rather than using time with the academic for simply receiving information, the students are given the opportunity to really benefit from the lecturer’s experience and expertise through focusing on the more difficult concepts, and through problem-solving, analysis, evaluation and synthesis of material, and other higher level activities.

If students are able to access materials outside the lecture, they can work at their own pace. ‘Flipping’ provides the lecturer with an approach for dealing with large classes, where students may be at different stages of understanding and skill, and provides time in lectures for more personal support. In-class activities might include individual problem-solving, group discussion, role playing (e.g. a discussion is staged as two or more sides of a debate), quizzes posed by the lecturer (using an electronic voting system), quizzes designed by the students and so on.

Why Should I Flip my Classroom?

In a traditional lecture, students often try to capture what is being said at the instant the speaker says it. They cannot stop to reflect upon what is being said, and they may miss significant points because they are trying to transcribe the instructor’s words. By contrast, the use of video and other prerecorded media puts lectures under the control of the students: they can watch, rewind, and fast-forward as needed. This ability may be of particular value to students with accessibility concerns, especially where captions are provided for those with hearing impairments. Lectures that can be viewed more than once may also help those for whom English is not their first language.

Devoting class time to application of concepts might give instructors a better opportunity to detect errors in thinking, particularly those that are widespread in a class. At the same time, collaborative projects can encourage social interaction among students, making it easier for them to learn from one another and for those of varying skill levels to support their peers.

Compare the Pros and Cons of Flipping

Are there any issues of which I need to be aware?

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What are the Implications for Teaching and Learning?

The flipped classroom constitutes a role change for instructors, who give up their front-of-the-class position in favour of a more collaborative and cooperative contribution to the teaching process. There is a concomitant change in the role of students, many of whom are used to being cast as passive participants in the education process, where instruction is served to them. The flipped model puts more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of students while giving them greater impetus to experiment. Activities can be student-led, and communication among students can become the determining dynamic of a session devoted to learning through hands-on work. What the flip does particularly well is to bring about a distinctive shift in priorities— from merely covering material to working toward mastery of it.

Summary

Title: Flipping Computer Programming Project Leaders: Dr Paul Shepherd, Dr Nick McCullen, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering This is a case study of one of the University's funded pilot Flipping Projects, looking at the motivation for flipping, the methods used, lessons learnt and impact.

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Motivation

Computer programming is best learned first-hand through guided trial-and-error, since this helps students develop the invaluable skills of how to identify and correct errors (debugging) as well as learning the language and programming environment itself.

The very large cohort size (110) and limited teaching resources (computer lab with only 40 PCs) meant the students had to be split into three groups. Therefore hands-on teaching time was very limited (even reducing the allocated 2hrs per student per week down to one hour meant the lecturer was teaching for 3hrs instead of 2). Flipping allowed some of this time to be made up by the students outside the classroom.

The previous teaching methods of very short lecture demonstrations interspersed with hands-on practice had further limited the most essential component of learning programming, i.e. the actual practice.

The Flipped Classroom

Flipping Project Funding was secured to help create the pre-reading material for the students. Dr Jan Van Lent (now at UWE but formerly at Bath) was employed for 1 week FTE to develop the course structure, draft materials and examples with model answers, which were posted weekly onto Moodle. His experience of delivering two courses at UWE in a flipped format, and his expertise in the Python computer language to be taught on this flipped unit made him the ideal person to prepare this material.

Students were told to use one of the unallocated but timetabled slots on the unit (when one of the other groups were being “taught”) to go through each week’s online material each week and practice the examples at home before attending their timetabled slot to ask questions and work on the mini-assessments.

To help further motivate the students, each week involved a 3% credited mini assessment task to test one of that week’s basic ILOs. This was automatically checked using an innovative computer script to ease the workload for the unit convenor (beyond writing and debugging the marking script in the first place), and also gave instant individual feedback to each of the 110 students each week, with tips on how to improve on resubmission.

Lessons Learnt


Many students did the full learning as directed and achieved a great deal (evidenced by their performance in the main assignment over Easter). Others just turned up for the tutorials and jumped in straight with the weekly task, ignoring the "flipped" prior leaning. However, with an average mark of 25 out of the full 30 marks available for continual assessment, there was clearly good engagement with the course and the ILOs were generally achieved.

The student evaluation comments (and in-person anecdotal comments) were positive and indicated that the students liked the continual assessment tasks and felt that they learned something valuable each week. They felt that the materials were too detailed in places, and the material took longer than an hour to go through. This will be addressed in future by reminding the students about the number of hours they are expected to study beyond the timetable. There was also a feeling in a few cases that there should have been some element of lecturing to complement the materials. To accommodate this without returning to an inefficient teaching style, short video lectures will be prepared for next year, for students to watch before attempting each week's materials.

Impact

The unit assessment results were an improvement on last year. In the combined continual assessments and main coursework assignment, the student average is 64%. Unit Evaluation Scores (everything in the range 4-4.5) and Comments have been positive.

The main reason behind the success of this course, perhaps in contrast to the experience of others, is that there is a good match between the style of delivery and the learning expected, and between the choice of example material and the learning students undergo in other parallel units.

Other Recent Examples

  • Flipping the right thing

    Dr Christopher Pudney, from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath, considers the benefits and challenges of flipping in his teaching and how to choose what to flip and what to not flip. ... read more
    Source: Exchange (Flipping)Published on 2016-12-07By Giles Martin
  • Flipping for conceptual connections

    Dr Christine Edmead, from the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath, discusses why and how flipping was used in a core immunology course, and some of the lessons learnt over time.   ... read more
    Source: Exchange (Flipping)Published on 2016-09-06By Giles Martin
  • Jigsaws and hats for engaging large classes

    It is often challenging to engage students in large lecture theatre classes due to constraints of space and the room layout. A recent post on the Faculty Focus blog outlines two easy to implement strategies for engaging students as part ... read more
    Source: Geraldine Jone’s Blog (Flipping)Published on 2016-08-24
  • Technology and the Pedagogy of Recognition

    I recently read an interesting blog post by Cristina Costa where she asks 'Can technology deliver on the promise of radical pedagogies?' She draws on Honneth's (1995, 2007) ideas of the importance of recognition in public domains for building self-esteem and ... read more
    Source: Geraldine Jone’s Blog (Flipping)Published on 2016-06-03
  • Zaption: Transforming video into a learning experience

    The use of video in teaching and learning is gaining popularity, whether the recording of lectures or the creation of video for 'flipped classroom' teaching. Although video can motivate and engage students, just passively watching does not lead to deep ... read more
    Source: Geraldine Jone’s Blog (Flipping)Published on 2016-06-01

User-Submitted Examples on this Website

Curriculum Transitions 23-08-19 – a summary of discussion

Robert Eaton

Our first Curriculum Transitions event took place in August 2019. A panel of secondary school teachers representing A-level biology, chemistry,

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Curriculum Transformation Mailing List – 18/09/19

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Curriculum Transformation Phases 2 and 3: information, guidance, and resources to support detailed course and unit development A large number

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Future Fit Framework

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The Future Fit Framework is an introductory guide to teaching and learning for sustainability in HE.

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Encouraging and crediting student engagement with sustainable development

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This report summarises how the University of Brighton used student engagement activities and embedded credited volunteering activities into their curriculum

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Sustainability skills

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The NUS has identified a key set of sustainability skills that employers are looking for in their graduate employees. How

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From Art to Zoo Management

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Developed by the Department for Sustainability at the NUS to showcase best practice in the incorporation of sustainability in UK further and higher education

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Embed citizenship and sustainability: Chemistry

Robert Eaton

This unit develops citizenship in our students, and was a Teaching Development Fund project by Gan Shermer and Stephen Bromfield.

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Embed citizenship and sustainability: Computer Science

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Download this summary of how the unit develops sustainability skills in our students summarised here.

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Embed citizenship and sustainability: MSc Sustainability and Management

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Download this guide to a PGT programme which covers a large number of sustainability issues relating to corporate social responsibility

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Embed citizenship and sustainability: School of Management

Robert Eaton

Download a summary of the range of teaching activities in the School of Management that embed sustainability in the curriculum,

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Who can I speak to @Bath?

There is lots of help and advice available to you from across a range of Professional Service departments at the University.

This includes, but is not limited to:

Some departments and Faculties also have an active academic community which support and promote the use of Technology Enhanced Learning. We recommend that you talk to your Director of Teaching and Learning and your Faculty Learning Technologist who will be able to put you in touch with another academic who can share their own experiences and offer pedagogical advice.

Step Two: Ask the Community
Step Three: Raise a Support Request

How would flipping help with my application for Fellowship of the HEA?