Help me flip my classroom

(1/69) > >>

I'm going to flip my chemistry course this summer but I need some help. I know Polly does inverted classroom work with her science for education majors class so I thought I'd draw on some of her experience and others who have tried it/do it.

I was resistant to it because I'm used to the modified lecture format (mainly lecture but I ask questions as we work through the topics). My main concern was simply getting through the proper amount of material for it to be a general chemistry I class because I have *just* enough time to get through everything. I didn't know how I would encourage the students to do even more in the classroom. I have them for about 4 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab each week for 10 weeks (no recitation).

And then I realized that I wasn't necessarily asking the students to do more but to change when they do the work. What helped me see this was a student I had last year. Essentially, he was not passing and when he came to me for advice, I gave him my typical advice about working ahead and not waiting until I was done with the section before trying to do the homework and understand it. I told him he needed to see it first before I did it in class. And he did it and he did incredibly well.

So if I understand the "flipping" process, I'm not necessarily asking the typical student to put more time into it but to rearrange when the time is spent. Spend more time before class instead of all the time spent after class before the exam. Spend time in class giving them a chance to work through certain topics in small groups with me doing some lecture.

These are my initial thoughts-

1. I've already spoken to my dean and he's interested in my doing it. I want to use this on the first day as a Jedi mind trick to let the students know that they don't have a choice. I'll get both my dean and chair to back me that way if anyone complains because they don't like the format, then they won't find any allies to help them in the administration. But I don't want it to sound like that. I want it to sound encouraging.

2. I need to find a way to redistribute points. I'm sticking with 75%/25% between lecture/lab. I currently have 8 exams which I'd like to continue since this makes each exam a smaller stake and allows students to recover from a poor performance on an exam. I have short quizzes and homework along with another reading assignment over a book but I'm thinking about eliminating the quizzes. See the next point!

3. Some coworkers went to a seminar recently (I wasn't able to go) and the suggestion was to make homework and class participation worth a lot. The idea is to assign students work that will be due at the beginning of each class period and then check it for completion (ie very quick check to see if that day's assignment was done). Those that complete it then split up into groups to try and learn more advanced concepts. Those that didn't do the assigned work (the homework), get separated off to work on it and when they finish it, they then can join a group. The points for the day are split into the homework and class participation points. Anyone who doesn't turn in the homework may still earn those points by completing the assignment but they don't get the participation points since they weren't ready for class.

I believe to make this work the percentage needs to be hefty for the participation points in order to encourage students to actually do the homework and be ready for class.

I have most of my class lectures on podcasts (typically 5-10 minutes for each one) so I can have some (or a lot) of the homework come from them.

Any thoughts/advice at this point?


I've been trying to add more in-class activities for my students.  I try to have one per lecture topic and try to construct it so that the material is something that we haven't specifically gone over yet (but, IF they did the reading it should be familiar) but simple to work-through.  I collect the exercises after 10-15 minutes and go over the them immediately.  Usually (hopefully) most of the students are getting the right answers (though I'm discovering some of my questions need to be worded better; what's obvious in a question to me is not necessarily obvious to them).  Then I ask them "So, what was they point of this?" and show how it's related to the day's topic.  Obviously, the idea is to help them make connections and to see that these ideas are not so difficult after all. 

Even though they're doing well on these exercises (I grade them on a 3-point scale and just about everything is a 3), I haven't seen a big improvement in test scores yet, despite my using similar questions and ideas.  Perhaps it's just they are not making or holding onto the connections.  Perhaps it's that I'm not writing good exercise or test questions.  At the very least, the exercises allow the students some respite from my endless lecturing and gives them results that (hopefully) make them feel good about their work in the course.

Perhaps this wasn't what you're looking for, but I think it's in the spirit of what you're hoping to do.


Quote from: galactic_hedgehog on April 01, 2012, 10:21:53 pm

Perhaps this wasn't what you're looking for, but I think it's in the spirit of what you're hoping to do.

Yes, it is. Thank you!


I've attended a couple of seminars regarding these type of setups and I'm still summoning the courage to make a go of it.  One thing they advised if you're starting out is to just do some parts (for ex., a couple of topics per chapter).  That way, you'll have time to see what works and what not and adjust.  As with all things new, you'll get some resistance as not every student will like it.  Be ready to quote some data in case you get some inquiring mind who wants to know if the method is really better.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page