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Studium Biologie For lecturers

Flipped Classroom

Student's benefit:
The students benefit from the feedback and collaboration from peers and instructors during the assimilation of information.

Teaching enrichment:
The flipped classroom model provides a solution to instructors who want to include more active learning exercises in their classes, but worry they cannot find the class time.

Teaching and learning methods:
Most flipped classroom practitioners use two approaches in tandem:

  • students prepare themselves for the next live session and learn the content
  • students discuss the learnt topics, solve quizzes or tasks in-class (Zoom session)


Definition of Flipped Classroom

Within a given course or subject, students rotate on a fixed schedule between (1) face-to-face teacher guided practice or projects in class during the standard school day and (2) online delivery of content and instruction from a remote location (often at home) after school. The primary delivery of content and instruction is online, which differentiates a Flipped Classroom from students who are merely doing homework practice online at night. The Flipped Classroom is a type of blended learning because the model allows students to choose the location where and the time when they receive content and instruction online. In a Flipped Classroom, what has been done traditionally for homework is now done in the classroom or on Zoom
A Flipped Classroom is an entry point to make learning more personalized.

Why flipping the classroom?

Some argue that of these two parts of the learning process - the transfer of information and the assimilation of that information, to use Eric Mazur's terms - it is the second part that is more challenging for students. Why not have them engage in that part of the process during class when everyone in the learning community (peers and instructors) are available to assist? Students don't need to be physically in each other's presence for the first stage, but they really benefit from the feedback and collaboration that the learning community provides during that second stage.

Another argument for flipping is from the perspective of instructors who want to include more active learning exercises in their classes, but worry they cannot find the class time. The flipped classroom approach gives these instructors a model for making more class time available for active learning.

How do you make sure students come to class (Zoom) prepared?

Our colleagues in the humanities have for years (decades even) asked students to "do the reading" before class so that they can discuss the reading during class. However, these colleagues also frequently complain that students do not actually do the reading. The flipped classroom doesn't work if students do not come prepared. Most flipped classroom practitioners use two approaches in tandem: (a) giving students in-class or online reading quizzes (usually with at least some participation points on the line) and (b) actually teaching class as if students had done the reading. If students know they will get a recap of the pre-class work from their instructor when they arrive in class, they will be less inclined to do the readings or watch the videos. They're busy people, these students, and they will save time where they can.

What technology is required to flip the classroom?

None, really (but during the pandemic situation Zoom for the live sessions). At least nothing we usually think of as technology. Many flipped classroom practitioners, however, prefer to have their students watch videos before class, either videos they create themselves or ones they find online. The main idea is to give your students a first exposure to the day's topic that sets them up for deeper learning during class. I am also a fan of online reading quizzes to hold students accountable for the pre-class assignments, and that requires some technology, too, of course.

What do you do during class time?

Something different! If class time looks the same as a "traditional" class, then you haven not finished flipping. During class, you want to limit the amount of time you lecture, and increase the time students spend applying the day's material to interesting problems. Leverage the fact that everyone is in the same place at same time by asking students to work collaboratively on problems, giving each other support and Feedback. Give yourself opportunities to circulate among your students (in Zoom use breakout rooms) to check in on their approaches that work for this.

Are lecture videos what the flipped classroom is all about?

No, but that is a very common misconception. The lecture video portion of the flipped classroom approach gets a lot of attention because it is the piece that involves shiny new technologies, but it is the pedagogy that drives the flipped classroom, not the technology. If all you are doing is posting lecture videos online, you are not flipping your classroom and, more importantly, you are missing out on the learning opportunities the full model provides.

Learning activities:
Team-based Problem-solving
Case Studies
Project-based Learning

Feedback to individuals or small groups
Peer Assessment





Traditional Flipped
Before class:
  • Students assigned something to read
  • Instructor prepares lecture
Before class:
  • Students guided through learning module that ask and collects questions.
  • Instructor prepares learning opportunities.
Beginning of class:
  • Students have limited information about what to expect
  • Instructor makes general assumption about what is helpful.
Beginning of class:
  • Students have specific questions in mind to guide their learning.
  • Instructor can anticipate where students need the most help.
During class:
  • Students try to follow along
  • Instructor tries to get through all the material.
During class:
  • Students practice performing the skills they are expected to learn.
  • Instructor guides the process with feedback and mini-lectures.
After class:
  • Students attempt the homework, usually with delayed feedback.
  • Instructor grades past work.
After class:
  • Students continue applying their knowledge skills after clarification and feedback.
  • Instructor post any additional explanations and resources as necessary and grades higher quality work.
Office hours:
  • Students want confirmation about what to study.
  • Instructor often repeats what was in lecture.
Office hours:
  • Students are equipped to seek help where they know they need it.
  • Instructor continues guiding students toward deeper understanding.

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