Robert J. Zeglin Headshot
Robert J. Zeglin | Associate Professor

Flipping the Classroom


In traditional models, students learn the material in class and then complete homework and assignments outside of class to help solidify and apply that material. This means that students are being asked to engage in high-level learning tasks outside of the classroom and away from the instructor and classmates. Questions that students may have about that application are often then handled during office hours, adding to the time commitment of both students and instructors. In the Flipped Classroom model, lower-level learning (e.g., understanding and remembering) is completed prior to class, via readings, online modules, and/or short video lectures. The high-level learning tasks (e.g., application, analyzing, creating) then occur in the classroom environment, where classmates and the instructor can facilitate, dialogue, and support. A commonly overlooked component of flipped classroom is the ”bridge activity.” This activity serves to bridge the students’ lower-level learning of the pre-class work to the high-level learning of the classroom work. These bridge activities are most effective when they encourage students to think a bit more critically about the information they have absorbed in the pre-class work. The goal is deliver to students the fundamental “must know” information before class (during the same time in which they would formerly be completing homework/assignments after the previous week’s lecture in the traditional model), then to bridge that information to the classroom (i.e., get them thinking about HOW this information might be applied), and then to invite them to apply that knowledge in the classroom using hand-on engaging activities.
  • What is Flipped Classroom?
    • A pedagogical approach whereby students learn the material outside of the classroom and then complete the “homework” in class
    • It “flips” the individual- and group-learning spaces
  • What is the benefit?
    • Allows for greater differentiated instruction
    • Leverages the best contemporary pedagogical theories and approaches
      • Think-pair-share
      • Problem-based learning
      • Constructivism
      • Community-based learning
    • The fundamental goal is to use class time for higher Bloom learning
  • How does it work before class?
    • Students learn the fundamentals of the material in pre-class work in the individual space
      • Recorded lectures
      • Curated videos
    • Students are assessed on that learning via appropriately calibrated assessments (low Bloom’s learning should be assessed via low Bloom’s assessment)
    • Students engage with a bridge activity that splits Bloom’s
  • How does it work in class?
    • The bridge activity is used to facilitate discussion, dialogue, and introduction to class work
      • Students master the content through specific structured activities
    • The instructor supervises these activities and provided feedback and support when, where, how, and to whom necessary
    • Students’ content mastery is assessed using appropriately calibrated assessments
  • What are some common questions?
    • How much work upfront does it take?
      • Honestly, some. But pays off in overall time saved
    • What are used for final grades then?
      • You have some flexibility, but remember Bloom
    • What do I do during class if I’m not teaching?
      • Actually teaching
    • Can this work in STEM?
      • Yes. All fields can flip. Helpful guides online.

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