What’s a Flipped Class?

Sometimes called “peer instruction” or the “inverted classroom,” a flipped class is one that inverts the typical order of content dispersal and acquisition. Students first encounter new material outside of class and then spend class time applying the material through active learning exercises.

During class, instructors facilitate learning by helping students work through assignments individually and in groups. The goal is to create richer, more dynamic learning experiences for students while the instructor is there to guide and coach them.

Why Flip a Class?

It promotes deep learning.
Instead of passively consuming lectures, students spend more time interacting with their peers and applying the day’s material to interesting problems.3174461456_f6945fbb21_o
As a result, they cultivate a deeper understanding of the material and how to use it.

It’s active and collaborative.
Flipped learning moves the application-oriented “homework” into the classroom, where students have direct access to the learning community. Students perform interactive, high-level tasks with their peers, while the instructor offers feedback and support.

Students and instructors get better feedback.
Flipped learning offers instructors real-time data on student progress. Consequently, students receive immediate feedback on their performance, and instructors solve problems as they emerge, long before the midterm or final exam.

How to Flip a Class

There are many ways to flip a class, and you can even try a partial flip, where certain aspects of the course retain their traditional flavor. In any case, instructors typically assign reading and recorded lectures (via Tegrity) for homework, and then students complete a variety of active, high-level tasks in class.

These activities assume many forms, including

In addition, you will need to provide an incentive for students to prepare for class and a consistent means of assessment. A pre-class quiz or writing assignment would satisfy both requirements.

If you are considering the flipped method, UT-Austin offers an excellent step-by-step guide that covers everything from assessment to students’ out-of-class workload.

For an overview of the theoretical basis of flipped learning, read Vanderbilt’s helpful teaching guide.


Further Reading

The Flipped Learning Community and Flipped Learning Network
“The Flipped Classroom FAQs,” Derek Bruff
“Flipping the Classroom,” University of Washington

Photo by Chris / Flickr Creative Commons