Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I determine whether this model will be a good fit for my class?

    The general pedagogical approach behind flipped classrooms can be used for any course. The fit will be best when you are prepared to develop ways of spending your class time engaging students in deeper learning tasks.

  2. How should I get started?

    The best way to get started is to design a clear set of learning objectives for your course (or class period) that require or are related to deeper learning.  It may also be helpful to flip with a “buddy” so that you can have support during the process.

  3. Does this model require a lot of prep time?

    This largely depends on how much course redesign you need to do. Like a solid set of lecture notes, once you have created the prep material, you can reuse it, but just like when you started teaching new courses the initial prep can be very time consuming. The biggest time may be in changing pedagogical approaches from ‘coverage’ of just presenting knowledge/comprehension level (in Bloom’s Taxonomy) material. Developing good, engaging, and carefully crafted assignments that require higher level learning is challenging and very time consuming.

  4. How is class time structured?

    This largely depends on the instructor and the ‘in-class’ pedagogy you’ve chosen (there are several common styles). A general rule to strive for about an 20/80 split of 20% talking or lecturing and 80% students actively engaged in learning (though the actual time may be split e.g. 5min intro, 40min activity, 5min summary)

  5. What are the best tools for content creation?

    There are two simple (and free) that I know of. (A) LectureScribe a very simple white-board type program which will also record your voice. It is fairly limited, but free, and has very quick learning curve. (B) www.ed.ted.com lets you turn any existing youtube video into a lesson with notes and questions built in. This is great if you can find existing videos, or simply make a basic video of your own with a web-cam or anything else. Beyond these there are lots of paid programs, tools, or whatever and some more complex free tools.

  6. How do I get student buy-in?

    Give them engaging questions from the get-go. If you make your class-time valuable to their learning, providing interesting and engaging questions they can tackle they should be hooked. You can also talk it up as a way for them to learn more. There are plenty of studies that show active learning produces higher learning gains than lecture.

  7. Is this a risk for people without tenure?

    Probably yes and no. The risk in trying it is that there is definitely a learning curve, and trying to do this well, without being fully comfortable teaching a course already introduces another significant challenge to teaching well. However, as this guide shows, the benefits of flipping can be great.  We recommend talking with members of your department, and particularly your chair, to make sure everyone is supportive.  One member of the FLC group mentioned he believes is a big risk in NOT doing this (or a related style) as well though because higher-ed is changing and incorporating a flipped or active learning classroom will be vital to having a successful class.

  8. How do I mitigate the potential risk of trying a “new” teaching style?

    You can try to mitigate the risk by being transparent and upfront with both your students, your department chair, and other colleagues who are evaluating you. The literature on learning has pretty strong evidence that these techniques can increase learning to back up experimentation. Working closely with the VITAL staff, and colleagues who are interested in this can also help reduce the risk.