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As you know, the flipped classroom relies heavily on students being prepared and ready to engage in the learning activities. What do you do when students come to class unprepared? Do you give a quick lecture to recap the pre-class content so everyone is on the same page? Do you give the unprepared students an alternative assignment? Do you kick the unprepared students out of class? Depending on your teaching philosophy and the classroom environment you want to create, you probably want to pro-actively design the learning environment using strategies to promote learning and personal development instead of relying on punitive measures to change behavior.

In a Faculty Focus article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt recommended five things you can do to motivate unprepared students in the flipped classroom. Her recommendations are:

  1. Have a conversation.
  2. Review your pre-class assignment.
  3. Proceed as planned.
  4. Re-think participation grades.
  5. Set up a corner.

You can read more in her article Five Ways to Motivate Unprepared Students in the Flipped Classroom.

Additionally, we have a recording of The Flipped Classroom: Strategies to Overcome Student Resistance and Increase Student Engagement webinar presented by Dr. Barbi Honeycutt in our video library. Contact Carla Simmons if you are interested in borrowing this resource.

Image credit: "365-075" by kona99 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By J. Todd

When I first started teaching, as a graduate student, I would would plan my classes in excruciating detail. These classes were largely lectures, interspersed with the occasional individual or group work. Often, I would even write out a joke or some irrelevant comment I wanted to start the class with. I still have the legal pads that I filled up with this extensive planning. Meanwhile, I had friends who could walk into the classroom without any real preparation and lead a successful class.

Post-It Notes saying, Do it! I've always been a planner; although, now those plans are just outlines with approximate times -- things to help me keep the class on track. But I've also always been a procrastinator; I do much of my best work under a quickly diminishing deadline. These days, I do most of my daily class planning the night before class.

However, recent innovations that I've become involved with are challenging me to plan in different ways. There are plenty of great and potentially powerful pedagogical innovations available now. Two new ways I'm dealing with this semester are inverted teaching and collaborative teaching. Both of these, I'm slowly learning, mean that planning for class is not simply getting ready to teach class on a given day. As a result, I'm (very) slowly coming to accept that I have to do significantly more planning significantly earlier.

Inverted Teaching

While video lectures are not a necessity for inverted teaching, they are one effective way to deliver content without using up class time. The videos, to be honest, are killing me. I suppose, as is often the case, this will get better over time, assuming I decide to reuse the videos from this semester the next time I teach this class. (Although, given my propensity for making significant changes every time I teach a class, I probably won't.) I had grand plans to record all the videos for my grammar class this past summer, to have them done and ready to go throughout the semester. Then, once the semester began, and I hadn't recorded any of the videos, I developed a plan for recording each video at least two weeks in advance. Here too, I failed.

Aaron Sams, one of the pioneers of inverted teaching, tells stories of recording videos for his Chemistry classes late at night in the laundry room, so as not to disturb his sleeping family. This past Saturday morning, I recorded a lecture on rhetorical grammar in my car while my son was at his Tae Kwon Do class. The video needed to be watched by my students before class this Monday. Granted, it's only a 15 minute video (I know, I know. It should be under 10 minutes.), but still, it feels like cheating to tell my students in class on Friday, "Please watch the video on Rhetorical Grammar before Monday's class. It's not done yet, but when it is, be sure to watch it."

This has been the pattern for much of the semester. For the composition classes I'm teaching in the spring, I have a list of about 20 videos I'm planning on recording over the winter break...

Collaborative Teaching

Meanwhile, I'm also team-teaching a class with a colleague in the Art department. The class itself is pretty well planned out, with a fairly set schedule that we've managed to stick with throughout the semester. It's a largely discussion-based class, so as long as both of us arrive having done the assigned reading and supplemented it with some additional research, the classes themselves go pretty well. We both come to class having individually prepared, but we never seem to have enough time to get together to collaborate on the planning and grading. Much of that takes place via email, often sent late at night.

The literature on this is beyond clear: you have to co-plan to co-teach. It's another new way of thinking about teaching: as I said, I do most of my best teaching planning the night before a class. That doesn't leave much time for co-planning, though, so it's another change I need to make in my time management. Maybe next time, we need to schedule at least one joint office hour to have a set time each week that we can be together to plan for the following week.

What's the Point?

The point, I guess, is that these innovations, which I believe are having a significantly positive impact on student learning, are also having a significant impact on the way I prepare to teach. I suppose that is another improvement, but the growing pains aren't that fun. Innovation is about change, and change can be a challenge. These innovations, while done to help our students, can also help us by forcing us to rethink the way we do things.

by Janice Florent

dog stretched out on sidewalk refusing to walk with handler pulling the leash

As you know, the flipped classroom relies heavily on students being prepared and ready to engage in the learning activities. What do you do when students come to class unprepared? Do you give a quick lecture to recap the pre-class content so everyone is on the same page? Do you give the unprepared students an alternative assignment? Do you kick the unprepared students out of class? Depending on your teaching philosophy and the classroom environment you want to create, you probably want to pro-actively design the learning environment using strategies to promote learning and personal development instead of relying on punitive measures to change behavior.

In a recent Faculty Focus article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt recommended five things you can do to motivate unprepared students in the flipped classroom. Her recommendations are:

  1. Have a conversation.
  2. Review your pre-class assignment.
  3. Proceed as planned.
  4. Re-think participation grades.
  5. Set up a corner.

You can read more in the article Five Ways to Motivate Unprepared Students in the Flipped Classroom.

Image Credit: Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev from Pexels

The Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty in planning and implementing innovative curriculum and/or pedagogical projects over the course of an academic year.

We would like to take a minute to congratulate the 2016 FaCTS Fellows. The Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty in planning and implementing innovative curriculum and/or pedagogical projects over the course of an academic year. Each year, we select a pedagogical theme that addresses the needs of the university. The theme for the coming year is Inverted Teaching, commonly referred to as "flipping the classroom". Each of the awardees below submitted a proposal to modify an existing course to incorporate the ideals of inverted teaching.

  • Cary Caro, Assistant Professor, Division of Business
    Project title: "Inverting BSAD 2200: Balancing the Global Perspective"
  • Kelly Johanson, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Project title: "CHEM 4140: Converting Metabolism into a Flipped Course"
  • Wyndi Ludwikowski, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
    Project title: "Inverting the Psychological Statistics Classroom"
  • Elizabeth Manley, Associate Professor, Department of History
    Project title: "Teaching History in the Archives: Inverting a Research Methods Course"
  • Ariel Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Division of Education
    Project title: "Experiential Learning of Career and Lifestyle Development"
  • Ifeanyi Onor, Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences
    Project title: "Implementation of Inverted Learning Strategy in Applied Pharmacokinetics"
  • Megan Osterbur, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
    Project title: "Activating Black Politics using the Inverted Classroom"
  • Richard Peters, Assistant Professor, Division of Business
    Project title: "Freshening Up Freshman Seminar: Creating an Environment of Expectancy, Excitement, and Empowerment"
  • Cirecie West-Olatunji, Associate Professor, Division of Education
    Project title: "Use of Inverted Teaching to Facilitate the Integration of Social Action and Advocacy within Counselor Identity among Graduate Counseling Students"

In May, the FaCTS Fellows will participate in a week of intensive training to learn about the theories behind and the best practices for inverted teaching. Lisa Schulte-Gipson, Associate Professor of Psychology, will serve as the faculty coordinator for the 2016 cohort. During the 2016/2017 academic year, the FaCTS Fellows will offer their redesigned courses at Xavier.

by Janice Florent

person with hands resting on book with fingers interlaced

Flipped learning environments are dynamic, interactive, and engaging. Students are actively engaged in solving problems, talking with each other, working through a task, or creating a product. The instructor provides assistance and asks questions when necessary. The instructor might take a moment to gather everyone’s attention and provide an explanation or reinforce a concept, but then the energy would immediately “flip” back to the students.

"You want your students to be active; you’ve got to be a little passive." –Professor Timothy Bresnahan, Stanford University

At its core, the flip shifts the focus from the instructor to the students. The flip occurs because the focus is on what the students are doing, not on what the instructor is doing. If we relate this idea to the quote above, you could say the instructor is being more passive while the students are being more active. The instructor is being what Dr. Barbi Honeycutt, in a FlipIt article, calls “actively passive” because it takes a great deal of energy, attention and awareness to step to the side and support students’ learning in this type of environment.

In the article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt goes on to suggest three ways instructors can be “actively passive.” Those suggestions are:

1. Embrace messy.

A flipped classroom is “messy” which means students are often working through problems or confronting situations where there might not be a clear answer or a perfect approach. If the instructor needs structure, control, and needs to know exactly what to expect at every moment in the lesson plan, then this will probably be the most difficult challenge for them to tackle.

This might also be the most challenging task for the students to tackle as well. Some students do not appreciate the “gray” area in the learning process. This is a teachable moment and one that the instructor can model for the students. This does not mean the instructor has to let go of control of the classroom. They still plan and organize, but should allow time and provide structure for students to practice, make mistakes, try again, and make connections about the course material.

2. Ask effective questions.

A flipped class is active. Students are always engaged in a task or working on a problem, and the instructor’s role is to support that learning process. When the instructor is serving as the “guide on the side,” it’s essential for the instructor to ask questions that generate a response. Avoid questions that have a “yes or no” response which doesn’t stimulate critical thinking or analysis.

3. Be quiet.

Students in a flipped class should be thinking, analyzing and creating. As they work, the instructor’s role is to let the learning happen. This means the instructor is there for the students, providing resources, and organizing the structure, but it also means stepping back and letting students work through the learning process without too much input from the instructor until they need it of course. For many instructors, silence in the classroom is awkward and they want to fill up the time by talking more, lecturing more, or sharing more examples. But sometimes students need quiet time to think, to process or to review what they’ve just learned.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in Dr. Honeycutt’s article “Be Actively Passive: 3 Strategies to Be Successful in Flipped Learning Environments.”

Photo credit: Patrick Fore | CC BY CC0 1.0

by Janice Florent

The flipped classroom is an active learning strategy that is being used by a number of educators. At its core, the flip means shifting the focus from the instructor to the students. This is done by inverting the design of the course so students engage in activities, apply concepts, and focus on higher-level learning outcomes.

flipped classroom

The flip has moved away from being defined as only something that happens in class versus out of class. Instead, it focuses on what students are doing to construct knowledge, connect with others, and engage in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis. This applies to both the online and face-to-face environment. The real flip is not about where activities take place—it’s about flipping the focus from the instructor to the students.

So, can you flip an online class? The answer is YES! In a Faculty Focus article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt and Sara Glova suggest three "flipped" strategies that can be integrated into an online class. Those strategies are:

Create a scavenger hunt.

Ask students to locate important course information, announcements, and deadlines. Offer an incentive for the first one to submit the completed scavenger hunt activity. Incentives may include the first choice on presentation topics, the chance to drop a low quiz grade, or the opportunity to gain an extra credit point on the final project.

Why it works: Students are actively locating information and constructing their own mental models of the course rather than just reading the course web site or listening to a video as you describe the structure and organization of the course.

Create a hashtag just for your course.

Encourage students to use the hashtag if they find course-related items in different social media spaces or elsewhere on the web. The hashtag should be unique to your course. Consider reviewing the posts and then sharing an item a week with the entire class.

Why it works: Students are actively contributing to the conversation by sharing resources and information they find rather than just reviewing the content you have collected.

Develop a low stakes assignment to encourage self-reflection and analysis.

Ask students to reflect on their own learning styles or personality in the online environment before beginning the semester. Encouraging students to think about this actively might help them to prepare for the online environment as they analyze their strengths, weaknesses, challenges, etc. Supplement this activity by making it a private forum requirement, then post a global response to students afterward with suggestions on how to succeed in the online environment.

Why it works: Students are asked to analyze and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in regards to a course, activity, or assignment. This can help build students’ capacity to advance towards higher levels of critical thinking.

These are flipped strategies because they shift the focus from the instructor to the students; they encourage active participation from students rather than passive observation; and, they engage students on a higher level by encouraging creativity and evaluation rather than basic knowledge recall. Most importantly, these strategies can work in an online environment.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in the Faculty Focus article, “Can You Flip an Online Class?” and my blog post "Look for 'Flippable' Moments."

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by Janice Florent

With all the discussion around flipped classrooms and flipped learning, educators are asking "How do you determine what can be flipped?" In addition to this question, educators are wondering when and where flipped strategies are best integrated into the learning environment. Some topics lend themselves more easily to flipped strategies than others. Lesson plans generally have the opportunity for at least one "flippable moment."

inverted classroom word cloud

In a Faculty Focus article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt, Director of Graduate Professional Development and Teaching Programs at North Carolina State University, writes,

When you sit down to plan your lesson, always begin by asking yourself, “What should students DO to achieve the learning outcomes for this lesson?”

Dr. Honeycutt goes on to suggest four areas where educators might find a “flippable moment.” Those four areas are:

#1. Look for confusion.

Ask yourself, “What’s the most difficult or challenging part of this lesson?” “Where do I anticipate students’ having problems or encountering difficulty?” These are the places in your lesson that would benefit from flipped strategies. Re-think this section of your lesson and design an activity for students to engage in.

#2. Look for the fundamentals.

Ask yourself, “What’s the most fundamental, most essential, and most critical part of today’s lesson?” “What MUST students know before they can move forward?” Some may argue fundamental knowledge isn’t what needs to be flipped, but if this is an essential skill your students need to develop before moving on, then it might be the perfect place to flip your approach.

#3. Look at your extra credit question.

Ask yourself, “What makes this an extra credit question?” “How could I turn this extra credit question into an activity or project for all of the students?” Extra credit questions are often designed to test the next level of thinking by moving students beyond memorization or comprehension, and therefore they can provide the perfect opportunity to flip your lesson.

#4. Look for boredom.

Ask yourself, “Are the students bored?” “Am I bored?” Boredom will destroy a learning environment. When you come to a point in your lesson or course when boredom strikes, it’s time to flip your approach. Design a task for your students to DO. Instead of continuing to lecture to them, take an actively passive approach and step to the side. Put them in pairs or groups. Pose a challenge. Allow them to design or evaluate something. Give them the space to struggle, practice, and imagine “what if?” so they are challenged and inspired. That’s the power of the flip.

If you found this information interesting, you can read more in the Faculty Focus article “Looking for 'Flippable' Moments in Your Class.” Also check out my previous blog post "To Flip or Not to Flip?"

This idea of the eight-minute lecture can also be useful to the faculty member interested in, but also concerned about, inverted teaching.

Image released under the Creative Commons CC0.

In "The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged," a brief but informative article on Faculty Focus, Illysa Izenberg, a lecturer for the Center for Leadership Education in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, discusses her use of this data-driven pedagogy. According to Izenberg, there have been a number of studies supporting what we all fear: namely, that our students don't remember those brilliant oratories we deliver with passion and zeal. More useful, though, is the data suggesting that students will remember information presented in eight- to ten-minute chunks.

Such data is useful not just for the traditional classroom, but also for faculty members considering inverted or flipped teaching. Whether delivering lecture content in the class (the traditional model) or outside of it (the flipped model), faculty should contain their presentations within that eight- to ten-minute frame. Whether sitting in an uncomfortable plastic desk or running on a treadmill or vacuuming the carpet, the student is going to remember what you say after that ten-minute mark.

This idea of the eight-minute lecture can also be useful to the faculty member interested in, but also concerned about, inverted teaching. The common advice for anyone interested in this recent trend, which you can hear from Aaron Sams, one of the coiners of the term "flipped classroom," in our most recent podcast, is to start small. The eight-minute lecture might be one way to start small. Try it out in with one class session, following Izenberg's advice. If it works, try it with another session, but this time, record the eight-minute lecture ahead of time and put it online for the students to watch before coming to class.

As with any pedagogical shift, talk to your students about it ahead of time. Izenberg points out that part of the success she finds with her eight-minute lectures is that her students know what's coming -- they know they are about to receive just enough content for them to remember. Let your students know what you are doing and why you are doing it, and make sure they understand what you expect them to do in response.

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by Janice Florent

chalkboard with flipped classroom written on it

By now, most professors have heard of a "flipped classroom" and a number of them are "flipping" their classes. The term "flipped classroom" is often applied to a wide range of approaches to teaching. Flipping in its various forms involves a key trait: It inverts the traditional relationship of students and teachers. Flipping seeks to put the learner at the center of a course instead of the teacher.

The value of a flipped class is in the repurposing of class time into a workshop where students can inquire about lecture content, test their skills in applying knowledge, and interact with one another in hands-on activities. During class sessions, instructors function as coaches or advisors, encouraging students in individual inquiry and collaborative effort.

Many professors try flipping, struggle with it, and quickly revert to straight lecturing. What do you need to think about if you are considering flipping? Here are some resources to guide you.

7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms
"Flipping" a Class
How Flipping the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture
Flipping the Classroom
Toward a Common Definition of Flipped Learning
Going Beyond the Basics of Flipped Learning