The Flipped Classroom – Revisited: The Ideal

Nick’s comment on the previous post prompted deeper thinking on my part.  I want to consider here my ideal flipped class.  First stipulation: I am only imagining flipped lower level math classes because that is what I teach.  Second stipulation:  If classes sessions are devoted to guided homework practice and quizzes, of course the flipped classroom will get better results as defined by success on math tests.  Third stipulation:  The ideal flipped class maintains the definition of credit hour – two hours of work outside the classroom for one hour in.

The students in my ideal class would experience about one hour (per unit) of video lectures and work associated with watching those lectures.  What would this mean?  When students attend in-person lectures they take notes.  We assume that this helps them learn the material though we know many students just copy whatever is on the board without any intermediary thought between eye and pencil.  I could require students to bring to class notes they took from the video lectures.  But why?  The lectures would be written using OneNote or the like and thus could be available for download.  Making handwritten copies would be any empty exercise.  So I would require an annotated copy of the notes – a printed copy of the notes with answers to prompts that I scattered throughout the lecture.  I would therefore have proof of student engagement with the lecture material. Students would bring their annotated notes to the class session covering the lecture material in order to get full credit for their  in-classroom efforts, say one hundred percent of their quiz score or any other product otherwise they would just get 70% of the scores they get during the class.  Unprepared students would be grouped together for any class work so that they do not slow down the prepared students.

The in-class session would focus on preparation for a 10-15 minute quiz at the end of the period.  First, questions from the notes would be answered.  Second, sample problems would be worked in groups with instructor assistance as needed.  Answers to the problems would be available for students to check their work.  The quiz would be done using clickers for automatic grading. The quizzes with problems worked out and an explanatory voice-over would be posted immediately after class.

The students would also be given homework to do – the other hour that Nick was talking about.  This homework would consisted of 1) Fill-in-the-blank questions that summarize the lessons of the day. 2) Some type of construction that gets at the concepts covered, say a complicated complete-the-square problem that would follow the same steps as those used to derive the quadratic formula. And 3) problems that extend or apply the concepts.  Students would be informed that one-third of the tests and the final would come from what they have learned by doing this type of homework.

Now I feel better.  Nick’s gentle critique was correct.  I was shouting into the darkness instead of lighting a candle as feeble as it might be.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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