Heard of the “Flipped Classroom” yet? The zany notion that students should engage the materials outside class, and then work through the concepts with one another and with the instructor during the class period? It’s got all the educators talking in the K-12 category. In its most specific application, instructors are intended to record their best lectures for the students to view at home, and then work through their questions and answers when they arrive in the classroom. The Chronicle of Higher Education did a piece on it last year. (I would link to it but you must have a subscription to view the content. Go here instead.)
The jargon is hot stuff…. the concept however….. is fuzzier than a first class Angora rabbit.
The “flipped” craze rhymes quite strongly with all those concepts espoused under the notion of active learning techniques: peer instruction, kinesthetic and highly social classrooms, active interaction instead of passive reception, problem-based learning, inverted classrooms, student-led inquiry….etc…etc…. In short, it no-more points to a specific technique than the words “active learning” and if that’s what it takes to get buy-in from instructors then have at it!
Flipping ain’t flippin’ new! It just isn’t…. BUT!!!!
It gave me an idea….
There is potential for true innovation here. Why not flip with already available sources?
Why not make use of the best of the resources offered by the MOOC Community (Massive Open Online Course) from well-established organizations like the Khan Academy and MIT’s Open Courseware system?
I know…. I know….. blasphemy….. allowing some other professor to lecture my topic for me? But consider the benefits….
First, you can flip a course without having to mess about with recording yourself (which is damned awkward anyhow). Second, you can bring all sorts of different lecturers into your course at no cost. Third, this leaves you classtime open to really push on the concepts and ideas.
I would likely eliminate a textbook in lieu of the online lecture. But I would still assign my usual scholarly article snippets with guided reading questions.
My hope is that in roughly the same period of time of preparation my students will have prepared themselves more effectively.
This also allows me to eliminate the lecture portion of my day. (And yes, I still lecture… for about 20 minutes in a 1 hour and 15 minute class)
Stay tuned… I’ll try it out next week and see how it goes.