Teachers Don’t Need to Flip Entire Courses to Benefit from Flipped Teaching and Learning Techniques
One of the things that often surprises participants in the 4 Week Online Workshops and similar professional development offerings I deliver is the fact that you can (and should) start small with flipped teaching. You do NOT need to flip entire courses to get started. There are plenty of upsides to starting small and learning as you go. In fact, how these techniques can work in each course will vary by course, student age, and other factors.
I am currently teaching an introductory level course and have found that using one basic flipped teaching technique alone is a powerful aid. Emerging Information Technologies is a required course for all students at The College of Westchester. This Fall, I started using the WSQ technique to introduce new subjects and set the stage for deeper learning in the following class. I have basically flipped a small portion of the course and realized many benefits from doing so.
I’ve written here before about the WSQ (Watch, Summarize, Question) technique, first published by Crystal Kirch. In the course I am currently teaching, once a week we will use the WSQ technique to introduce a new topic. After a brief introductory discussion about the topic in class, students are required to watch a video or two or consume some other content as homework, and write a brief summary which includes an informed question about the content. I read and grade these write-ups prior to the next class (and often use the opportunity to offer feedback on writing quality, an area in need of improvement for many students).
We start the next class by reviewing some of the questions they wrote in their summaries (there are always some good ones!), and then further explore the topic with additional resources and discussion. Finally, we delve into the topic with an active learning assignment. By delivering a small portion of learning content outside of class, we make it easier to provide repeated exposure to, and richer exploration of, learning topics.
There are plenty of other approaches to flipping a portion of learning content and freeing up valuable face to face class time for more active, engaged, and differentiated learning. This is just one example.
A Partial Flip Alone can be Enough to Improve Learning Outcomes!
To further illustrate the power of the flip as a teaching technique that can produce excellent results without having to put in a huge effort or flip an entire course, consider the first phase of a flipped classroom pilot we’re running at The College of Westchester this year. Two courses were only partly flipped, with a bit under half of the lessons delivered in a flipped style. The two instructors in the pilot produced some exciting results in these courses, significantly reducing the instance of grades of D, F, or W (Withdrawal). As the graphic below indicates, ‘DFW’ grades were eliminated in the flipped pilot of GEN300, and radically reduced in NET125. Read the full story here: Flipped Learning Pilot Radically Reduces DFW Grade Rates in Two Courses.
So there you have it – a little flip goes a long way! Have you been successful using flipped techniques in a similar manner? Please comment and tell us about it!