Our Approach to a "flipped classroom"
We have developed a set of eight to
twelve minute videos that capture the important aspects of the topics in
our first semester of calculus course. In addition, we have develop
corresponding sets of entrance quizzes and in-class problem sets. The
student are expected to watch one or two videos prior to attending class.
We have also developed a set of problems for the students to work on
during class in small groups of 2 or 3. There is minimal direction
instruction. In general, direct instruction occurs on an as-needed basis
in the form of 5 - 10 minute-long "mini-lectures". The instructor
spends most of his or her time answering questions for individual groups
or orchestrating larger class discussions. Students frequently present and
explain problems at the board for their peers. While there are some
differences between flipped classes, in all cases, the emphasis is on
students doing and discussing mathematics.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is a typical class like? Each class
generally begins with a 1- or 2- question entrance quiz to check that
students have watched the video. What happens next can vary -
depending on the instructor and the topic. Some instructors start
class by answering questions about the content in the video and on
homework questions, others might start class with a classroom voting
question to get a discussion started, another might start class with an
activity related to the content from the video. For a large
portion of the class period, the students work on problems in small
groups while the instructor circulates around the room, posing and
answering questions or providing feedback. If the instructor notices a
common difficulty, he or she might stop class and give a short
mini-lecture. Class also includes opportunities for students
to present and explain solutions at the board.
- What is the physical set up of the
classroom? Most of our flipped classes are taught in
rooms tables that are circular or that can be grouped to provide working
space for 4 student. In addition, the chairs have wheels making
it easy to for students to quickly changing locations. We are
fortunate that these rooms also include multiple boards and multiple
projection units which facilitate the sharing of student work.
- How many students are typically in
your classes? We have 24 - 26 students enrolled in our
- How do you monitor whether or not the students view the video?
Most of us administer a short "quiz" at the beginning of the
period to help us assess whether or not students have viewed the
video. There are 1 or 2 question on these quizzes (included on the
website) that usually mimic the content from the videos. Some
instructors encourage the students to take notes on the videos and let
students use their notes on the quizzes as well.
- Do you lecture? There
is usually a little bit of lecture included in every class. We refer to
these instances as "mini-lectures". They are short and to the point and
are not the emphasis of the class period. Usually, the instructor
will step in with a mini-lecture when he/she sees that the whole class
could benefit from a discussion about one student's question or when
more than one group of students have similar questions. These
mini-lectures rarely occur at the start of class.
- Do the students have homework?
Students enrolled in our flipped classes have regular homework
assignments. At the University of Hartford, we use WeBWorK as our
on-line homework system.
material is based upon work supported by the National Science
Foundation under Grant No.
opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed
in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.