I’ve heard a lot about flipping classes and the advantages that it can give those students. Eager to provide those advantages to my statistics students this semester, I decided to flip the class. I wasn’t entirely convinced about it, mostly because I wasn’t exactly sure what it would involve. After all, I have never done this before. As the semester was about to start, I took the plunge and decided to try something new.
What I have found is much more work than I anticipated. Flipping the class essentially means placing lectures on video so you can dedicate class time to more active learning activities. It sounds great in theory. But in practice it’s a whole lot of work!
I have to make two slide decks: one for the videos and the other for the in-class assignments. The videos themselves are not that hard to make. I broke down and paid the $15 yearly subscription to Screencast-o-matic, and it’s turned out to be some of the best $15 I’ve ever spent. I do find some trouble uploading them into YouTube so that I can then place them into Blackboard for my course, more than anything with the time it takes to upload and process. Making the actual MP4 file once I’ve done recording the video isn’t exactly instant either.
I could avoid the second deck if I just opened up the online homework assignment and started working out problems, but I want my students to understand the whys as well as the whats of the process. Anyone can push button sin software, but not everyone knows what using different types of input means or how to interpret the results properly. To that end, I create problems like the ones on their homework assignment so they have to think a bit more about what they are doing and why. Plus my in-class slide deck shows them how to use the software, which is particular for just this class.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding. My students are responding very positively to this new approach. They love how they can view my lecture videos as many times as they want whenever they want. And they appreciate the step-by-step procedures I outline in my in-class presentations. Plus, the test scores so far are a little more than a full letter grade above what they were for my students in the same class a year ago.
Making these materials the same semester I am teaching the class is not the best way to go when flipping a class, but I am very pleased to see the satisfaction and learning in my students. It really makes all the hard work I’m putting into flipping the class pay off. Plus it gives me an extra sense of satisfaction knowing that I am the only instructor on campus — full-time or part-time — who is flipping this class, and I’m adjunct!
I really love my job and hope that eventually the hard work I am doing will pay off for my career as well as for my students.
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