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Monday, August 29, 2016

CRAFT Experiment Shows Potential

Faculty members of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, are experimenting with a flipped-classroom model that is showing some promise. CRAFT—for Create and curate content, Replace lectures with Active, and Flipped, Team-based learning—targets classes with high rates of dropouts or students getting poor grades.

In the first two years of the program, students in most of CRAFT courses received higher grades than their peers taking the lecture version. In addition, the university has been able to enroll more students in the classes. Instructors also report that their workload remains about the same, according to a report for Inside Higher Education.

A philosophy course that went through the CRAFT redesign typically had 40 students who met three times a week for 50 minutes per class, with lectures making up two of the three sessions. As a flipped class, enrollment increased to 90 students divided into three groups that meet once a week for group quizzes and other forms of active learning. Students watch video and do homework exercises on their own to complete the weekly coursework.

“I’m effectively teaching more students than I was before, but it’s taking less of their time … and the workflow is neutral for me because I’m spending the same amount of time in the classroom,” said Wade Maki, who teaches the redesigned course. “You can move the needle on access and affordability with this. And we need to do that.”

The workload for instructors only becomes neutral after the redesign stage is completed and student savings come in the form of less money spent on course materials that are replaced with online lecture videos. However, student grades did go up, with the share of students earning an A or B increasing from 40% to 56% in one course alone.

“We have shown the model didn’t fail, which we expected it might,” Maki said. “Now, we have to get others on board.”

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