Overview

A flipped class is a course that utilizes online components so that in-class time can focus on active learning and applying knowledge under the supervision of an instructor. A typical flipped class has three stages: Before class, students learn about new content through online materials to prepare for class; then, students attend class, where the instructor will guide them through activities that help them use, apply, and clarify what they learned; finally, students return to the online platform after class for knowledge checks or formal assessments.

Instructors who choose a flipped class model report that students learn more, learn deeply, and take more responsibility for their learning. A flipped class should encourage student agency, promote collaboration, and provide a lot of opportunities for feedback [1].

Even though a flipped classroom can seem very informal and self-directed, it is important for the instructor to structure it intentionally so that students stay on track and to ensure that the activities and content are interconnected, contextualized, and assessed.

For instructional design support in flipping your course, request assistance or keep reading to learn more about best practices.

Best Practices

  • Think about how students will access online content and make sure that it is clear what they should do and when. Label materials or assessments that are for use before, during, and after class. Communicate clearly what students are expected to do with the material: Should they read? Take notes? Prepare questions to ask in class?
  • Ensure that all materials are accessible to students with a wide range of abilities and learning needs or preferences.
  • Consider using an accountability check before class to encourage students to complete the pre-classroom activities. A short quiz, a submission of three discussion questions, or a short summary will communicate to students that the preparatory materials are mandatory.
  • Start class with a short opener instead of jumping immediately into active learning activities. Use this time to frame or contextualize the materials students have reviewed, do a comprehension check, or answer questions.
  • Use class time to do active learning and collaborative tasks. Don’t spend a lot of time repeating what students learned online. Instead encourage students to discuss and analyze what they learned, apply their knowledge, and construct new ideas or evaluate old ones.
  • End class time with a short wrap-up to make sure students are connecting the activities to what they studied and to prepare them for after-class activities.
  • Take advantage of the online learning management system after class to provide resources that expand on what happened in class, clarify questions that arose, or check comprehension with formal or informal assessments.
  • Be available during class time to assist and facilitate. Circulate, be prepared to guide and encourage active learning in a student-centered environment.

Examples

  • Students in a veterinary medicine course watch two short video lectures, read a textbook chapter, and do a summary and analysis assignment before class. In class, they participate in virtual lab assignments in groups to practice the diagnostic techniques they learned. After class, they take a quiz so the instructor can evaluate what they learned.
  • A political science professor asks students to read several essays and watch a documentary before class. In class, they meet in discussion groups to analyze what they learned. After class, they write a short essay incorporating their new knowledge into what they learned in previous units.

References and Additional Resources

Citations

[1] The University of Texas at Austin Faculty Innovation Center (2019). “Flipped Classroom.”

Further Exploration

Yee, K. Interactive Techniques. University of South Florida.

CITT Showcase, Flipped/Hybrid

Available Instructional Development

Flipped Classroom