Flipping the Class

"Flipping" the Class

Planning your course for next semester? Consider “flipping” the class—moving the content coverage to outside the class in order to devote precious, in-class time to practice of important course skills. By participating in structured activities in class, the students rehearse aspects of critical thinking with their peers and gauge their own proficiency. There are two considerations for instructors rethinking the use of in-class time.

How will students gain their first exposure to course information and procedures outside of class?

Students may be assigned reading for this content coverage, but they also find new media or observation especially motivating. There are many videos already available on YouTube covering key skills such as how to interpret a graph. Some instructors may want to create informal videos where they teach the content or introduce a reading students will then do on their own.

How will instructors structure the in-class processing of course content?

Students will use in-class time to actively analyze, argue, or solve problems. The key to “flipping” the class is that students have to be held accountable for doing their outside class content study.  Be sure to arrange ways students are required to show they learned the content by, for example, writing responses that they bring to class like a “ticket” to enter, taking quizzes either online or in class, or posting blog entries, to name just a few.  Just as important is actively using that material to support the activities in class; students must apply that outside content in very concrete ways, practicing the intellectual skills that will help them process the information and integrate it into their growing understanding of class concepts.  For more information about how to do this, see our Discussion Techniques page.

Overview of how to flip a class:

Detailed explanation of a flipped science class: