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Monday, April 25, 2011

Article on the Flipped Classroom

another flip
I've been thinking about the flipped classroom lately, not because I am teaching face-to-face again, but because I think there are some lessons there for online faculty.  In the flipped classroom the material you would typically present face-to-face, probably in a lecture format is moved online.  Much of the time that means lectures and presentations go online.  And that's important -- most fully online courses should have some sort of content presentation.  Just telling your students to read a couple of chapters in the text is not adequate.  That said, plan carefully what goes online and in what format.

Here's a great blog post by David Truss on what goes online in a flipped classroom:

He comments on lesson quality "No student is going to accept a barrage of 1 hour long lessons that they have to view at home on a regular basis. How much do you give them to watch online, at home? How deep do you go? How do you balance what students need to know and how much you put in your videos and screen-casts?

Also, how much does your flipped classroom either teach/promote higher order thinking skills or provide the scaffolding for higher order thinking skills in your class after students have viewed the lesson at home? This point relates to the other aspect of lesson quality below."

 That's true if your entire class is online also - content presentations are still important (and still missing from many online courses), but they need to be looked at as part of the entire course.  Where are you going with the presentation?  How does it tie to the remainder of the lesson plan -- the homework, the discussions, the applications, etc?  Too many of us still develop a content presentation separately from activities.  We need to connect all parts of the course in the fully online world. 

David Truss also comments about production quality - so many online courses are developed by faculty with no training in instructional design and minimal technical skills.  Great teachers can overcome those barriers.  The rest of us need support and access to resources.  A monotone lecture given by someone sitting in front of the webcam built into their pc isn't a good example of the kind of content presentation that help students get excited about the course material.  Look for support and ways to improve the way you are presenting material to students -- at the least we have to be engaging. 


(Photo credit:, HC_07)


  1. What an excellent point that I had not considered! How very insightful to apply lessons from a flipped classroom to online courses.