Dos and Don’ts of Flipping


  1. Sell students on the process. If students are not sold on the benefits of doing things in a new way, they won’t buy in and the course will suffer.  This can be done by citing research, describing success stories, or inviting student testimonies.  Link here to this part of our module.
  2. Provide incentives to do the pre-class prep. For example, students may complete quizzes about the topic during the first few minutes of class.  However, instructors have noted that these are often more effective when they are relatively low-pressure.  For example, some have suggested a pass/fail system where students are allowed a certain number of fails per semester.
  3. Know the tools of flipping. Know what types of technology are available and how to use them effectively
  4. Allow time for planning. A first flipped classroom is a large time commitment.  It is recommended that one does not try flipping for the first time during a busy semester.  One specific recommendation we have heard is to do the initial flip during the fall semester so that the summer can be spent prepping.
  5. If one is concerned about buy-in it can be helpful to make students realize they are part of a successful flipped classroom. For example, mid-semester evaluations can be distributed with questions such as, “What can I be doing to improve my grade in the class?”  This helps students realize that a bad grade is not necessarily the instructor’s fault.
  6. Understand that flipping does not work for every teaching style. A flipped classroom can be a chaotic one—if an instructor prefers an orderly classroom experience, flipping may not be desirable.


  1. Do not hide the design of the classroom from the students. Students should realize exactly what is expected of them and how the grading system will work.  Students may also appreciate the thought that was put into the structure of the course.
  2. Do not assume students know how to use the technologies. Flipped instructors have noted that students will often struggle with (or blame) technologies.  Do not assume that students know how to find the course material, even with commonly used technologies such as Blackboard.
  3. Do not flip in isolation for the first time. It can be extremely helpful to have a flipping buddy who is going through many of the same experiences.
  4. Don’t feel like you need to have control of the classroom at all times. It is impossible to control every side conversation or diversion during interactive activities.

Directory of Open Access Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources in Higher Education: A Guide to Online Resources

SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

Open Educational Resources, Washington State University Libraries

OER Commons

Free Video

Stanford Teaching Commons

Glossary of Terminology

Active Learning
Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing [1]. While this definition could include traditional activities such as homework, in practice active learning refers to activities that are introduced into the classroom. The core elements of active learning are student activity and engagement in the learning process. Active learning is often contrasted to the traditional lecture where students passively receive information from the instructor (223).

 Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231.

Flipped (Inverted) Classroom

In the flipped class model, what used to be class work (namely, the instructor-led lecture and student note taking) is done prior to class, while what used to be homework (typically, assigned problems) is done in the scheduled class. The model has transformed teaching practice by changing traditional roles and increasing interaction between the instructor and students during class. In the flipped classroom, the responsibility and ownership of learning is transferred from the teacher to the students through participation in interactive activities (1).

Pierce, R., & Fox, J. (2012). Vodcasts and active-learning exercises in a “flipped classroom” model of a renal pharmacotherapy module. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76(10), 1-5.

Inquiry-based Learning
Inquiry-based learning (IBL and also abbreviated to inquiry) is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of teaching approaches in which learning is stimulated by a question or issue, learning is based on constructing new knowledge and understanding, the teacher’s role is one of a facilitator , and there is a move towards self-directed learning (15).

Spronken-Smith, R., Walker, R., Batchelor, J., O’Steen, B., & Angelo, T. (2011). Enablers and constraints to the use of inquiry-based learning in undergraduate education. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(1), 15-28.

Any series of audio files that can be downloaded from the Internet, often released on some regular schedule. Podcasts are named after Apple Computer, Inc.’s iPod portable audio players, though most podcasts are in a format that can be played on virtually any computer or smart phone.

Bergmann, J., Sams, A., & Overmyer, J. (n.d.) The flipped classroom.

An instructional method in which the classroom teacher creates a vodcast of [his or her] classroom lecture on a topic or objective for viewing by students before attending class on that topic.

Bergmann, J., Sams, A., & Overmyer, J. (n.d.) The flipped classroom.

Problem-based Learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method where relevant problems are introduced at the beginning of the instruction cycle and used to provide the context and motivation for the learning that follows (223).

Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231.

A vodcast is a podcast that also incorporates video in addition to audio. They are short screen captures of material with narration by an instructor, typically performed on a Tablet PC or SmartBoard. These digital videos can be observed online or downloaded.Vodcasts can capture solutions to example problems, tools and tips on specific concepts, and supplement lecture notes.

Bergmann, J., Sams, A., & Overmyer, J. (n.d.) The flipped classroom.

List of Readings

Herreid, C. F., & Schiller, N. A. (2013). Case studies and the flipped classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 62-66.

This brief article discusses the flipped classroom model in the context of case study teaching. It outlines results of a survey of STEM case study teachers asked to report about their use of the flipped method. There is some discussion about “pitfalls” of the flipped model as well as an overview of the use of digital learning objects (such as online tutorials) in both current and future applications. It also includes a helpful reference list.

Godwin, B. and Miller, K. (2013). Research Says/Evidence on Flipped Classrooms Is Still Coming In. Educational Leadership, 70(6), 78-80

This brief article discusses an overview of flipped teaching, along with a description of the limited research available.  Very few studies have examined the impact of a flipped classroom, but the studies that do tend to show positive impacts on student scores.  Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, the authors argue that an, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” and describe ways in which flipped learning can promote student-teacher interaction and feedback, which have been shown to improve student outcomes.

Marcey, D. J. and Brint, M. (2012). Transforming an Undergraduate Introductory Biology Course Through Cinematic Lectures and Inverted Classes: A Preliminary Assessment of the CLIC model of the Flipped Classroom. Working Paper

In this working paper, the authors describe an experiment where they use a flipped classroom model in a set of undergraduate introductory biology classes.  One section was taught in a traditional way, while the other was flipped using the CLIC (Cinematic Lectures and Inverted Classes) method.  The authors do find that students in the flipped-classroom performed better on quizzes and exams, but that differences disappeared when students in the traditional classroom discovered and began viewing the online lectures.  Their initial conclusions support the effectiveness of the cinematic lectures at improving student learning and at the CLIC model at improving student perceptions of the class.  The discussion is preliminary but helpful.