Academic journal article NACTA Journal

Flipping the College Classroom for Enhanced Student Learning 1

Academic journal article NACTA Journal

Flipping the College Classroom for Enhanced Student Learning 1

Article excerpt

Introduction

The flipped classroom refers to a model of teaching where the traditional lectures are viewed outside of class on a video. Class time is spent on inquiry-based learning: team-based assignments, quizzes and exams. The idea draws on concepts that include: (1) active learning, (2) student engagement, (3) hybrid course design and (4) course podcasting (Educause, 2012). The flipped model, popularized by Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, is getting a large amount of attention in recent years (Ani, 2012; The Economist, 2011; Gobry, 2012; and Talbert, 2012b). Tucker (2012) confirms that, "flipping is rapidly moving into the mainstream" (p. 83). Berrett (2012) reports that the increase in interest in flipping is driven by several trends, including technological innovation, an increase in the demand for accountability for measurable student learning outcomes and budget pressures that provide an incentive to make large traditional lectures more productive. Some evidence suggests that the flipped classroom can result in improved student learning outcomes (Bergmann and Sams, 2012b; 2014; Strayer, 2012).

Bergmann et al., (2011) define the flipped classroom as: "(1) a means to increase the interaction and personalize contact time between students and teachers and (2) an environment where students take responsibility for their own learning." Wilson (2013) flipped her undergraduate statistics course with two motivations. First, she desired to move the course closer to a "significant learning experience," (p. 193) as defined by Fink (2013) and second, she desired to make changes that increased student interest, engagement and retention based on the ideas of how to teach "generation next," as popularized by Taylor (2010, 2011 ).

Tucker (2012) emphasizes that there is no single model for flipping and the core idea is to flip the typical instructional approach: "With teacher-created videos and interactive lessons, instruction that used to occur in class is now accessed at home, in advance of class. Class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts and engage in collaborative learning" (Tucker, 2012, p. 82).

The major attribute of a flipped classroom is that the teacher can spend more individualized attention on each student and provide more interactive experiences for enrolled students. This often translates into better student-teacher rapport and relationships. When students are placed in teams, students teach each other, a powerful way of learning new material, since students can often explain the concepts to each other in a style more conducive to learning.

Wilson (2013) defines a flipped classroom as "...moving the typical 'transmission of knowledge' component of a class (i.e. lectures) to outside of the classroom and move the 'application of knowledge' (i.e. homework) into the classroom," (p. 194) and goes on to argue that given the current state of information availability in the digital age, "...professors are no longer the only (or even the best) source for [the type of information typically included in a traditional classroom lecture]. However, it can be argued that professors remain the best source for guiding students in how to understand and apply information, particularly newly acquired information" (Wilson, 2013, p. 194)

The primary goal in flipping the classroom in an introductory course in PrinciplesofAgricultural Economics was to maximize student learning outcomes by better utilizing the face-to-face interactions during class time with students. The design and implementation of the flipped classroom was highly rewarding and educational for the instructor and as will be shown below, appears to have resulted in higher levels of student learning and satisfaction. Flipped courses have implications for retention, since pass rates are higher, engagement is greater and teachers can spend individualized attention on at-risk students and students who need motivation or academic skills (Bergmann and Sams, 2012b; 2014; Strayer, 2012). …

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