Making sure students consume assigned digital content is an essential element of successful blended or flipped teaching and learning.
One question that usually arises in most discussions about flipped teaching is, “How can I help ensure that students will watch or listen to the learning content that I assign them?” While it is always hoped that well designed content will be enough to engage students, sometimes it just isn’t enough to get students to ‘do their (digital) homework’. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to encourage the consumption of the content that you assigned them.
Here’s a few ideas worth trying (you may note that some of these ideas are not much different from the things you might do to encourage the completion of regular text reading assignments).
A Notes Outline: Require students to complete a notes outline you give them, or to create their own. You can decide if it must be handed in for credit. I am using this technique in a class I am teaching now, and sometimes I ask to receive it and associate credit with it, and sometimes I don’t.
Start class with a discussion on the topic(s) covered in the digital content: Starting class sessions with a discussion of the material that was in their digital assignment, and randomly selecting students to contribute, is another way to improve the chances of getting them to do it, and to be more attentive when watching, reading, or listening. Many students just don’t like being caught unprepared in front of their peers.
Online Discussion Forums or Reflective Blogging: Require students to participate in an online discussion forum. Be sure to pose at least one specific question for them to respond to. You can also require them to read and respond to other student’s comments. This is a common technique in online learning and works well in this situation.
Give Pop Quizzes: When students know a quiz may be given on the prior night’s material, it will encourage some to be sure to do the work. You can decide whether to tell students up front that there will be a test based on the specific assigned material, or just forewarn them that it will happen at random.
Hide Easter Eggs: Hiding “easter eggs” in the content and letting students know that there will be extra credit awarded the next day if they are called and can reveal the hidden nuggets they’ve discovered, can be another fun technique to encourage participation, especially in younger students.
Be sure to consider using a mix of these different approaches and changing it up from time to time to keep things fresh, fun, and interesting!