Different class, Same #FlipClass story

So excited about flipping my classes this semester!  Not sure what is causing the differences, but so far the overall atmosphere in the classroom is positive. I just read Robert Talbert’s blog post “The Inverted Calculus course” this morning in The Chronicle and found his story eerily similar to mine.

The changes made from last semester have been very well accepted by students.  As I told the students, they are good students.  Now I want to make them great learners.  What is the difference?  My students are good at coming to class, asking questions, doing what they are told to do…. all attributes of a good student.  They are preparing themselves well for the in class sessions of the class.  BUT, I have found that they don’t really know how to learn and prepare for those high-stakes assessments.

Test 1 was graded and the overall median was not very good.  I had a sit down discussion with them to try to figure out how they approached their learning.  They did what I told them to do prior to every class… watch the vodcasts, pause, rewind, take good notes.  Try the Gate check and before class problems.  In class, they worked collaboratively in groups on the assigned in class problems.  All these steps were directed by me, the teacher.

Then I asked them what they did to prepare for Test 1.  Almost every student told me that they re-watched the vodcasts, looked over notes, and read the textbook.  NOT ONE SINGLE student actively reworked any of the in class problems (the problems normally assigned for homework).  In other words, the students repeated the content acquisition yet none of them worked on the problem solving.  I was astounded!  I assumed they knew to do this.

As a result, I challenged the class to work together to improve the overall class average on the next test.  If the class increased their overall test average by 10%, I would add 10 points to each student’s grade on test 2.  They responded well to this.  I am trying to get them to support and work with each other collaboratively rather than against each other.  I also hope with this “team concept” for learning, they focus less on the grade and competing and more on the learning.  

The overall class atmosphere is very conducive to learning.  I am loving the positive interactions and working with these students.  I believe they really want to learn the material, they just didn’t know how to approach preparing for a high-stakes assessment.  I hope the “team concept” helps.

2 thoughts on “Different class, Same #FlipClass story

  1. Bill Grayhack

    I have found similar results. Flipping does not solve the problem that the poorer students don’t understand the full process of learning. I recently pointed out to my students that they were not taking full advantage of the materials available to them (on-line preparation quizzes) before the test. I then did something that I think really hit home with them, I walked them through the performance evaluation format we used at IBM. For each skill in your area, you had to rate yourself (and then your boss would rate you) as:
    0 – no knowledge
    1 – academic knowledge = read about it
    2 – could perform tasks with supervision/guidance
    3 – could perform tasks independently
    4 – could supervise/teach others
    I walked them through how reading the book and watching the videos or listening to me was probably level 1. doing the homework with help from me or with the book open was level 2. To be ready for the test, they had to get to level 3, where no one else (including videos and sample problems) was assisting them. I told them, “This is your job as students.” I’m your boss, here to help you succeed by giving you all the tools I can, but eventually I have fill out one these evaluation forms as well.
    By the way, having the level 4 let me briefly talk about what some of those really good students get out of helping the others, the deeper understanding one develops when trying to explain something to someone else.

    1. kellybutzler Post author

      This is brilliant! I love it! I often try to explain to students that I am trying to teach them skills so that they are better employees (and so they don’t lose their jobs :). I will definitely ask students to rate themselves. thanks so much for the comment!!


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