Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Flipped Learning Making Inroads on Campus

The 2013 Speak Up National Research Project found that flipped learning has surpassed all other digital learning trends in K-12. According to the study, 25% of responding district administrators reported flipped learning is having a significant impact on teaching and learning and 40% said they are interested in their teachers using flipped learning methods this year.

Despite gaining popularity in K-12 circles, flipped learning still lags behind in higher ed. That could change as more colleges and universities discover how to effectively use the technique.

“One thing that’s been lacking has been a consensus on what the flipped classroom actually is,” Robert Talbert, a math instructor at Grand Valley State University, wrote for a Chronicle of Higher Education blog. “If a professor assigns readings to do before class and then holds discussions in class, is that ‘the flipped classroom’?”

The Flipped Learning Network (FLN) came up with a definition based on FLIP, which stands for flexible environment, learning culture, intentional content, and professional educator. The four components form a teaching method that allows students a variety of ways to learn, focuses on student-centered inquiry instead of lectures, offers accessible content available to all prior to class, and features instructors who are willing to collaborate with students.

“Just because you’ve been giving reading assignments outside of class and holding discussions in class, it doesn’t mean you’ve ‘always been flipping the classroom,’” Talbert wrote. “There’s more at work and at stake here. The focus in the above definition is on student learning and not on course design and I think that’s totally correct.”

FLN didn’t stop at a definition but collaborated on a series of university case studies and research with Pearson Education. The information gathered showed that flipped learning improves critical thinking and professional skills, increases student participation and motivation, and improves team-based skills and peer-to-peer interaction.

However, challenges remain regarding course redesign, faculty workload, student buy-in, and student evaluations.

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