#Flipclass Week 4

I know my titles are not catchy.  Sorry.  I am so worn out, my creativity is lacking.  Flipping is tough.  It’s so much more difficult than lecturing.  I just hope all this hard work is worth it.

We diverged a bit from the “normal” schedule this week in Forensics.  I have guest speakers come into my class to speak about their professions that are related to forensic science.  This week we discussed a local case that involved Dr. Richard Illes and the murder of his wife, Miriam.  We viewed the CourtTV episode of the case and then Mr. Mike Dinges came in to fill in the gaps.  Friday we spent discussing the case and started looking at the “final assessment” in this course, the Crime Scene Project (description can be found on my Wiki).  In years past, I waited until the last month to begin talking about it.  This semester I decided to use my flipped class discussion time to have students work on the final assessment incrementally.  I really think these students are going to do great work!

Teaching chemistry in the flipped classroom learning environment is definitely more challenging.  The content is different, students are more extrinsically motivated to learn the material (more focused on grades than learning for the sake of learning), the class size is triple that of forensics, and the students have a wide range of mathematical abilities.

The one thing I do notice is that some students are not doing many problems on their own outside of class.  I have online problem sets due, but most wait until the due date to complete them.  I had to remind them that we may not get to all the “in class” problems in class therefore they should work on them outside of class.  Again, 2.5 hours is not enough time.  I am begging them to see me during office hours.

One student visited me during office hours yesterday.  We talked for awhile about test anxiety and her crazy schedule as a student athlete.  I gave her a few suggestions to help alleviate test anxiety.  During the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she would rather I vodcast my lectures in my office.  She thought this would focus her more on the content.  She said she almost feels like a second party looking in rather me talking to her.  She also said that because the lectures were recorded in a live classroom, student questions make the focus diverge.  Interesting…. I assumed students would prefer this.

I used MediaSite to classroom capture my lectures last fall thinking that the students would prefer hearing a “real” lecture in a classroom with students versus a “simulated” one-way lecture of me talking to a computer screen.  I asked her if she would like me to provide links to other professors lecturing on Khan Academy or YouTube.  She said no.  She wants to hear me.  So, I will lecture capture the next few chapters in my office and see if students prefer this over the MediaSite recordings of my “real-time” classroom lectures.

For now, students are giving me great feedback on the flipped classroom!  Most coincides what the “flipped experts” suggest.  Students want to hear their own professor explain the concepts rather than someone else.  The first exam is next Thursday.  I am anxious to see how they do.  I anticipate the performance will be identical to that of my lecture class from semesters prior.  We will see.  


4 thoughts on “#Flipclass Week 4

  1. Amanda Meyer

    I am having a similar experience with my flipped class chemistry students in high school. They are at various math abilities and not putting in the time outside of class that’s necessary to master the concepts. I give them most of the classroom time to work on problems in a peer-tutoring format, but they even have a hard time focusing then. I think a lot of it is that the general student attitude toward math in our building is very negative, and students just shut down in the face of a math problem. I, too, am begging them to come and get individual help, without a lot of success. It feels like many students have already resigned themselves to doing poorly in class.

  2. kellybutzler Post author

    So it seems as though mathematics aptitude and attitude are influencing success in a flipped chemistry class. I could say that mathematics aptitude and attitude influence success in ANY chemistry classroom environment. 🙂 How many students do you have in your class? After the first exam (this Thursday), I plan on setting the groups to include a high, middle, and low performing student. Right now, the groups are self-selected and really dependent on where they sat on the first day. I also cannot move my long tables so students are not in “pods” where they can face each other. The classroom learning space is not conducive to any kind of collaboration.

    1. Amanda Meyer

      I only have 15 students in the class, and I have had them working in groups/parters for problem-solving for a few weeks. This is my first year teaching chem (I usually only teach bio classes), and I was just shocked at how much students shut down in the face of challenging math. We started out the year with dimensional analysis, and this really threw off a bunch of students. We’ve since moved on to easier problems, such as radioactive decay equations, and it seems like the students have more confidence with these. I have found that even when students watch videos before class, it’s still helpful to go over one problem for them in class before letting them loose with solving problems with their group.

  3. mpersun

    This is interesting Kelly. All of my videos so far this year have been done alone without students in the classroom, but I had thought I would try to capture some lessons while I was teaching. I think the student may be correct though…when I make a video for the students without them in the room, I really have to focus on the content of the video and how I can make it short and sweet but anticipate what their questions may be. So for now after reading this I will continue to make the videos on my own. I do allow time at the beginning of class for students to have question/answer time. I also build into my video lessons problems for the students to solve on their own to go over in class together. Knock on wood, so far my students have been faithful in watching the videos and loving this setup. My first quiz was OUTSTANDING!! The grades were the best I’ve ever had in the 7 years I’ve been teaching AP calculus. I am sold on this method of teaching!! First big test this week and I will let you know how that goes!


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