Flipping the classroom
What is it?
The flipped classroom “flips” classes that are traditionally taught with a lecture first, followed by students studying the material. The flipped classroom uses in-class time with students to explore and expand on the course content they were exposed to before class, instead relying on lectures for learning.
In the flipped classroom:
- students’ first exposure to the basic course content takes place before class
- student preparation before class counts towards the course grade and helps the instructor assess student understanding
- in class, students actively apply the course content
Examples of flipping the classroom at Duke
At Duke, many courses expect students to come to class prepared to work with professors on complex problems. For example, in the Focus program, small groups of first year students take related courses to address complex ideas and problems from interdisciplinary approaches.
- Laura Lieber in Religious Studies teaches a first year seminar course using Team-Based Learning. Watch the video.
- Students in Steve Craig’s Honors Chemistry course spend class time learning from each other. Professor Craig described the top 5 reasons why team learning is greater than the lecture to Duke Today. There’s more information on his course, and an evaluation of his approach.
- Dr. Len White, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, uses team-based learning to flip his class. Here he describes the spread of team-based learning at Duke.
Several CIT fellowships have helped faculty flip their class.
Flipped classroom techniques
Here are some evidence-based structures for flipping a class:
- Team-Based Learning
- Jim Sibley and Pete Ostafichuk (2014) Getting Started with Team-Based Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing See accompanying website: http://learntbl.ca/
- Team Based Learning brief PDF
- Team-Based Learning website
- Larry Michaelsen, Arletta Bauman-Knight, and Dee Fink (2003) Team-based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing
- Peer Instruction and Just in Time teaching
- Eric Mazur (1997) Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice–Hall.
- Eric Mazur, E. (2009) Confessions of a Converted Lecturer. YouTube video of lecture at UMBC
- Derek Bruff (2013) Using Peer Instruction to Flip Your Classroom: Highlights from Eric Mazur’s Recent Visit. Blog post, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
- Reacting to the Past
Learn more about flipping the classroom
For more discussion, see Vanderbilt Center for Teaching site on Flipping the classroom.
- How ‘Flipping’ the classroom can improve the traditional lecture in the Chronicle of Higher Education
- Video explanation of flipping the classroom from Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology
- Educause Learning Initiative’s 7 things you should know about flipped classrooms
This reference describes recorded lectures as a mechanism for student learning outside of class, but recorded lectures are only one of a wide variety of ways for students to learn before class. Recorded lectures are not necessary for flipping the classroom, as described by Derek Bruff in Flipping out.
- Graphic poster about the Flipped Classroom
- Flipping the classroom requires thoughtful course design. See Dee Fink’s
A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning (PDF)
for help and forms.