As the Spring semester winds down, I started to ask students for input to improve the flipped classroom. I have yet to label their learning environment as a “flipped classroom” and plan not to ever put a name to how I teach.
To my knowledge, this semester of flipping has produced the least amount of complaints. Several factors have contributed to this and as a result, I have less to change for the Fall semester. One of the biggest issues, however, is that students are still not completing the before class activities including watching the vodcast. This is confirmed by their responses on the Gate Checks and lack of foundational knowledge to begin the problems assigned for in class. Most students are just filling out the Gate Check to get credit without actually completing any of the activities.
The research that is emerging about the flipped classroom indicates that students like the pre-class recorded lectures and complete the activities. A recent article by Long, Logan, and Waugh (2013) indicated that students find the recorded lectures beneficial. Long et al. reported that 78.4% of the students found the recorded lectures beneficial. I assume that 78% of the 51 students are viewing the recorded lectures. My reality is not aligned with these findings. Those who actually watch the vodcasts find them useful, but only about 10% of the students are viewing them. I feel like I am constantly trying to find ways to “make” students do what I ask them to do. I know I should not do this, but frankly, very few students would not do anything outside of class if it was not graded. Why do so many of my students NOT view the recorded lectures?
I asked his question to those students who I know do not view the vodcasts. They say that they “don’t like learning from a vodcast” or they “don’t have time”, or they “can’t learn this way”. I tried to probe this response by asking them “why don’t you think you can learn from a vodcast”? They respond by saying “I just can’t”. I’m not sure how to convince them to try to learn this way. However, I think I need to show and guide students on how to learn. To this end, I plan on asking students to keep a separate notebook that includes notes from vodcasts/readings, problem solving examples clearly written, and before class problems completed. I will check these entries periodically and randomly so that students feel the need to keep up and I don’t have to spend time collecting and grading everyday. The student has to be in class in order to submit the notebook. In addition, I will ask those who are successful in this class to give advice to the Fall semester students. Perhaps student testimony and advice will help.
My next blog will include student responses from a survey about the vodcasts and the flipped classroom learning environment. I am looking forward to reading their responses.