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Indeed, a November 2013 survey from the Center for
Digital Education and Sonic Foundry found that half of
university faculty members have flipped their classroom or
plan to within the next year. Despite that enthusiasm for
the model, though, the truth is that many faculty members
struggle with making their lecture-free classroom time in-
teractive and engaging.
One problem may be that many higher education faculty
members have never taken a teaching methods course,
said Jackie Gerstein, who teaches education and educa-
tional technology courses at Boise State University (ID)
and Western Governors University (online). "The ones
who are using the flipped classroom, in my perspective,
are the ones who have experience with more two-way
communication with students and interactive activities in
the classroom: former K-12 teachers and scientists who
are used to labs."
Flipping is not an excuse for twice the amount of lec-
turing, Bruff noted. He tries to get lecturers to bring tra-
ditional out-of-class student activities into the classroom.
"Rather than students working on solving problems by
themselves," he asked, "how can we optimize that 75
minutes we have together? That synchronicity becomes a
CT asked several professors how they make their class-
rooms more participatory. Here are their best practices:
California Lutheran: An Arena of Inquiry
David Marcey, Fletcher Jones Chair of developmental bi-
ology at California Lutheran University, stressed that he
doesn't merely put lectures on video for convenience's sake
--- the classroom activities are the primary driver of his flip.
"I wanted to turn the classroom into an arena of inquiry,"
he said. He is continually testing out new classroom activi-
ties in his course "Metabolism, Genes and Development,"
which usually has 20 to 40 students. "It is not easy to do
well," he warned.
Marcey calls his flipping model "CLIC" --- for Cinematic
Lectures & Inverted Classrooms. One approach he has taken
involves using clickers to get at higher order cognitive ques-
tions. He has students click an answer and look at the results
together. Then they talk in small groups and vote to answer
again, which generates a conversation, he said. "We get to
peer-to-peer learning and start to get at the metacognition,
so students start thinking about what they know and don't
know. That is overlooked in our lecture-based classes."
Marcey noted that some students take well to synthesizing
information from lectures and readings and applying it criti-
cally. "Of course, with other students we are disappointed
that they didn't seem to grasp the concepts at a deeper
level. But this practice in the classroom helps them identify
and work on what they don't understand."
Other classroom activities include building plastic models
of DNA molecules, constructing concept maps or research-
ing a topic online during class and making a presentation.
"I get a little pushback from some students who prefer the
more passive mode," Marcey said, "but many more students
enjoy it and the classroom is more vibrant, more engaged. I
am committed to continuing it."
Duke: Flipping Large Classes
When Mohamed Noor, Earl McLean Professor and chair
of biology at Duke University (NC), created a MOOC on
Coursera, he specifically planned to use it to flip his large
on-campus course, Biology 202L: Genetics and Evolution.
"Once I put the course on Coursera, I felt that I would be
cheating my students at Duke if all I did was give the same
lecture that anybody can see on the Internet for free," he said.
"Of course, there is more help available on campus, such as
lab sections and question-and-answer sessions," he added,
"but I want to continue to look for ways to make the class-
room time more valuable, to maximize student success."
Noor said he already had a few interactive elements in place
such as pre-lecture quizzes on what students had already
read. Students provide feedback on the videos they have
watched, and he spends the first 10 minutes of class clarify-
ing any concepts that were confusing.
Now he is trying to add more participatory activities in his
classes. Some of the topics are amenable to group problem-
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