Tag Archives: #flipclass

Strategies for Students who “Don’t watch the videos” #FlipClass

It’s been a few months since my last blog entry.  Since several students found my blog and were reading my entries, I felt it was not appropriate to comment or reflect on the teaching and learning.  Now since the semester is complete and grades are earned, it’s time for me to update my blog.

In a nutshell, I believe that this semester’s flipped classroom iteration was by far the most successful.  The “success” can be quantified using overall class grades and also my perspective in terms of student attitudes and perceptions of the flipped classroom.  Similar to the Spring 2014 semester, I did not label how I was teaching as the “flipped classroom”; I continued “Stealth Flipping”.  However, since many of the Spring 14 students indicated that they did not take notes on the vodcasts, or simply did not know how to take notes, I implemented a structured note-taking template based upon the Cornell note-taking method.  I also added “exam wrappers” which promoted reflection on student learning and preparation.

The addition of these two self-regulation tools seemed to have added to the success of the stealth flip structure.  As you can see from the graph below, the overall course grades were higher over all 4 student categories.

ClassRank vs Grades


Students who graduated in the top third of their high school class made the greatest gains in course success.  The results from students graduating in the bottom third of their high school class is a bit misleading as there were only two of the seven students graduating in the bottom third of their HS class enrolled in General Chemistry who completed the course.  One of these students earned an A, but had already earned a BS degree.  The low retention of the bottom 1/3 students is ongoing regardless of the learning environment.  However, it appears that the bottom 1/3 students withdraw earlier in the semester in a flipped classroom.  Learning in a flipped classroom requires a great deal of self-regulated learning and many just don’t want to do the work.

Interestingly, the bottom 1/3 students were the ones who consistently did not submit in class problems or notes from the vodcasts.  Nor did they take the online quizzes.  Many of these students just came to class and seldom engaged in the learning process.  Others did not even make it to class.  As an instructor, this is very frustrating, but I can only do so much and ultimately the student needs to decide become vested in their learning.

Overall, the addition of SRL tools helped those students who graduated in the top and middle third of his or her graduating high school class.  SRL tools also helped non-traditional students (or those in the “other” category).  I plan to continue teaching students how to take notes and reflect on their learning.  Hopefully many will see the advantages and continue to use SRL tools in all their classes.

My next blog will include student comments on the implementation of the Cornell Note-taking methods when viewing the vodcasts.

“I don’t watch the videos” in #FlipClass

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.


The results are in….

Test 2 in the #flipped general chemistry class has been graded.  The median was a 75%.  The grades ranged from an 8%-100%.  14% of the grades were below a 50% and of those below a 50% over 2/3rds did not do the homework that was assigned.  The median is not statistically different from the lecture class, but again, the range of grades is quite different.

Grades from test 2 in the lecture class from Fall 2012 ranged from 39-94%, but only 4.5% of the students earned grades below 50%.  I do have 10% more students in the flipped class section who entered college at the remedial math level.  But, I don’t think math level entering college predicts success in a flipped classroom.

What I do see is that students are doing less problems outside of class.  Since we primarily work on problems in class, I don’t think many do problems outside of class to reinforce the concepts.  In fact, I don’t think many are reading or viewing the vodcasts either.   I give vodcast quizzes to “make” them view the vodcasts, but even this does not seem to motivate them all of the students.

I have made other interesting observations from both my forensics and gen chem classes.  I assigned groups based on performance on test 1.  I assumed the best group dynamic would be a high, middle, and lower achiever.  Wrong!  Most of the high achievers only want to work with high or middle achievers. They are getting frustrated and seem to not want to waste time explaining the concepts.  The middle to low achievers are intimidated to work with the high achievers because they don’t want to appear to not know anything or the high achiever moves too quickly through a problem.  My best group/partners are like achievers. Interesting……  Although, this observation may not have external validity.

Another observation is the lack of note taking when powerpoint slides are available.  When checking student notes, these “notes” in forensics consist of just the ppt, nothing added.  I have a few who will add to the notes (and those students have earned higher grades… surprise).  As a result, I have decided to NOT provide ppt files to my students.  I will let them take notes the old-fashioned way:  writing the information down.  I may need to give a lesson on note-taking.  Anyone already have this lesson as a vodcast?

There are only 4 weeks left in the semester.  I hope to continue to post my observations.  I will be administering a survey about the flipped classroom in both forensics and gen chem.  I am looking forward to reading the results.

Flipped class and Academic Integrity

I have been teaching Forensics for about 8 years.  In past semesters, I asked students to come to class having read the chapter and the end-of-chapter questions completed.  I started class by checking each students’ answers to the questions.  I only checked for completeness, not correctness… students were able to collaborate in class on the answers.  I followed the collaboration period with a question/answer session on any concept that stumped them.  Seldom did students have questions.  I went right into the next chapter lecture thinking they understood everything they read from the previous chapter.  I really knew they didn’t, but I didn’t want to push it… they were college students who should be self-regulated learners.  The unit exams were never good.

Now using the flipped classroom learning environment, students come in with notes taken from the vodcast.  Questions that were normally done as homework are now completed in groups of 4-5.  Last week and again today, a student came with the questions already done.  Hmmmm… no the student did not have notes from the vodcast and the vodcast quiz clearly indicated that the chapter was not read.  How could the student have the answers to these questions completed?  I probed a bit…. the student indicated that she misunderstood the “homework” assignment.  Really?  Twice?

I’m not that naive not to realize that students were “sharing” homework question answers.  However,  I believe it was worse than I had imagined.  Now with the flipped classroom, students are forced to be accountable for their OWN answers.  They can’t hide behind cheating.

First #Flipclass day

I am exhausted!  Thankfully, I’m not one to wear heals or uncomfortable shoes.  Since I have a carpeted classroom, I even went one step further… I took my shoes off.

I have 50 General Chemistry students jammed into one smallish classroom.  The table/desk arrangement is traditional:  long tables with chairs.  I meet with these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Not much time with them and 5 days between meetings.  Unfortunately, I can’t just assign a 10 minute video for each class.  Instead, I assigned them 40 minutes videos and told them that they do not have to view them at one sitting.  I did not group students in 3-4 as the tables are too difficult to move around.  Instead, I suggested just working in pairs then compare their answers with a pair next to them.  It seemed to work!

I began today by answering their questions from the video lecture.  They had several.  It was a great way to review the vodcast and really focus on what they wanted to learn.  I followed this with a partner “vodcast quiz”.  This worked really well as they were able to learn from each other without the pressure of a “first assessment”.  I explained to them that this was “low stakes” and that I wanted them to hone in on what they did not really understand.

After finishing the quiz, students began working on the “in-class problem packet”.  I compiled chemistry problems by chapter in one packet that they will work on during class.  Here is when my running began.  I went from one end of the room to the other.  I stopped the class whenever I had more than one group confused about the same problem.  It was great!  We could focus on the tough stuff and I was able to address their confusion and provide them feedback immediately.

I had one student break out into song.  Another provided a way for students to remember significant figures (Atlantic and Pacific… never heard that one so I learned something new too!).  I learned most of their names ON THE SECOND DAY OF CLASS!  The class was loud and their personalities emerged.  No one slept.

I did miss visiting a few groups.  I need to make sure I give all groups attention, not just those who are raising their hands.  I need to make sure I ask each student if they need help.  I think we will all be more efficient in this process as we get more comfortable.  I am excited that I didn’t have to talk TO them today.  And they had the opportunity to talk to ME.

Really excited for next week!!