Flipped learning allows students to repeat watch lectures, repeat exercises as needed and generally learn at their own pace. As such it is an inclusive approach to teaching, which accommodates different study habits and abilities. It allows the tutor to use classroom teaching time as a space for students to practice the knowledge they have learned, and ask questions to the lecturer that they may have. This is the idea of a flipped classroom and those engaging in it are asking, “how is the student experience and depth of student learning affected when flip our classrooms?”
The flipped classroom
The flipped classroom is a teaching method being used more in higher education. It uses pre-class activities to introduce students to materials you would otherwise introduce them to in lectures and uses the face-to-face teaching time to engage them in higher order activities.
If you wish to change your teaching practice to devote more face-to-face teaching time for any of the following activities you should consider taking a flipped learning approach:
- Student discussion and exploration of the subject.
- Group work, which encourages students to learn from one another
- Practical work, where it is helpful to have a video demonstration to rewind and rewatch. In this model, students watch demonstrations of practicals before class.
- Role-play activities to show competency.
- Student presentations and peer-led teaching.
Flipping with Panopto
Panopto, our new lecture capture and video management system is an ideal technology to support the flipping of your classroom if you choose to recreate the lecture experience at home by creating a series of videos. Videos are ideal for flipping in part, because they can be more inclusive than alternative methods of content delivery and in part, because video fulfills students expectations that they will be listening to a lecture. Usually the tutor will also expect the students to answer questions at home so that students can test their understanding. If the quiz is online it can also give the tutor a feel for the level of student understanding and the particular areas that they are struggling with before the face-to-face teaching session.
Panopto is closely integrated with our online study platform, Canvas. It is set up in many teaching spaces around campus. The captured streams are processed into a video for the web, editable by the tutor and accessible by students from within Canvas.
However, Panopto video is not only capturable in teaching rooms. The Panoto software is downloadable by any member of staff (or student) of the University and tutors can make video content from whatever device they choose and put it into Panopto. This is what makes it such an ideal tool to allow you to flip your lectures. It can be used to produce short video clips of content or reproduce a lecture that is delivered from your desk and you can embed non-video content including websites and questions that the students need to answer in order to access the rest of the video.
If you are intending to flip your classroom with the aid of Panopto we suggest you cut up your lecture into five to ten minute videos and use the quiz tool to test you students knowledge at the end of each clip. We suggest that you look at the students responses to the quiz questions before the session so you can get an idea of their level of understanding and where they are struggling.
In International Development, Dr Anna Laing and Dr Benjamin Hunter have flipped their classroom for a module in Research Methods. They have produced interactive video lectures, which students are expected to do in their own time. The videos give an introductory ‘how to’ lecture on each of the research methods that they teach on the module – quantitative methods, qualitative methods, and participatory approaches. These are short roughly twenty minute videos that are broken up by quizzes on the lecture material to check the students’ understanding of the material. The students must watch the videos before they attend class. Dr Laing and Dr Hunter chose to flip their classroom so they could utilize the classroom time to practice the research skills that they had learnt.
By week seven, roughly 90% of the cohort had watched the lectures and many had watched them multiple times, with some students commenting that it is helpful to re-watch the videos at their own pace in order to ensure their own understanding. Many students were positive about the flipped experience stating that they ‘do the essential learning individually outside of class, and then bring it together in group workshops’. They felt it did increase the workload and felt pressure to watch the lecture and do the reading, however they cited a number of advantages including that they can pause the video lecture to make notes and they can choose a time when is convenient to watch them. They preferred the pre-recorded videos to the lectures recorded in lecture theatres stating that the sound quality is better and there were fewer interruptions. Dr Hunter says, ‘it seemed to be particularly useful for students whose first language is not English – we have 21 direct entry students on the module, as well as eight visiting and exchange students’.
From Dr Laing and Dr Hunter’s point of view, the flipped classroom is useful for modules with a practical or skills-based focus as it makes the most of the time spent in the classroom to practice the skills taught, but they were keen to stress that this approach might be unsuitable for theoretical modules where the face-to-face interactive lecture has particular value given the opportunities for questions and discussion that are more difficult with online lectures. Many of the students also said that they did not think the flipped classroom teaching method would fit all their modules.
Benefits and challenges of flipping with Panopto
The benefits of flipping with Panopto are that it is easy to create videos with embedded questions for your students to watch in their own time and it is easy to get feedback on their understanding before you meet them in your face-to-face teaching session.
However, there are potentially some obstacles to taking a flipped learning approach. Your change in practice may require you to:
- Be innovative and explore approaches to teaching, learning and assessment that you have not experienced yourself and are not common in your discipline.
- Put in more preparation time in producing the video content and the homework quiz questions.
- Trust that your students will come prepared.
- Be ready to meet resistance from students who do not appreciate the new study pattern.