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The Process

This guide is designed to walk you through the steps of flipping a single class; the process is scalable for flipping portions of each unit or an entire course. One of the major factors in course redesign is the time it takes to do it well. We recommend pilot testing the flipped model with a single class before engaging in a complete redesign.

Step 1: Identify where the flipped classroom model makes the most sense for your course.

The following questions may help you identify a good place to start, whether you have designed your course around learning outcomes or by units:

  • In what classes do you currently have an in-class activity that you rarely have time to complete during class and that requires the students to apply their knowledge and skills?
  • What concepts or topics do students struggle the most to understand, based on exam scores or assignment grades?
  • With which topics would students benefit from the opportunity to apply the concepts within the classroom where your expertise could guide their development?

Step 2: Spend class time engaging students in application activities with feedback.

The crux of the issue is figuring out for your class time could be repurposed in ways that provide students with an appropriate level of challenge while leveraging your expertise as a coach or guide. There are many possibilities for infusing a class with collaborative learning experiences. Ultimately, it comes down to finding an approach that works best for your students and your course content. Learn more about Instructional Strategies. . .

Step 3: Clarify connections between inside-of-class and outside-of-class learning.

The core of flipping the classroom is moving application-oriented “homework” into the classroom and moving the “lecture” to before or after class.  Here are a few questions to get you started with this part of the process:

  • What do I want my students to know and be able to do as result of completing this sequence of the course? How does this sequence fit into the bigger picture of the unit and course?
  • What part of the current “homework assignment” could be moved inside of class to help students practice applying the content?
  • What in-class learning activity is being rushed through because there is currently not enough time to do it well?
  • What practice do students need inside of class to prepare them for the larger assignment that will be completed after class? Will students make the connection between what is happening inside of class and the assignment they are working on outside of class? How can I organize my course so the relationship or alignment of learning objectives, content, and activities is properly maintained?
  • What content do students need to know before class to successfully engage in the learning activity during class?
  • How can I avoid the course-and-a-half syndrome, a trap in which too much out-of-class content and activities are added to the course?

The after-class portion may consist of a wide variety of activities, including completing the work started in class, reading about a topic more deeply, working together on a larger assignment that spans several class periods, or practicing on one’s own. Keep in mind that the after-class portion from the last class occurs at the same time as the before-class portion of the next class, so helping students manage the workload is important. Learn more about Clarifying Connections . . .

Step 4: Adapt your materials for students to acquire course content in preparation for class.

The dynamic and active environment created within the flipped classroom means that it is essential for students to come prepared for class. Once you have a clear idea for how students will be asked to apply their knowledge and skills during class, begin considering what students will need to read or view in advance of class.  While online video content is associated with the flipped classroom, one can begin the process to flip a class by repurposing traditional materials.  Some common ways students prepare for class include the following:

  • reading materials (for example, textbook chapters or relevant articles)
  • viewing online video and listening to online audio content (for example, podcasts, video tutorials, and online micro-lectures, simulations, or demonstrations)

Keep it simple at first by either relying on your current resources or using existing online content rather than creating your own. If you have time, then explore what content currently exists online that may help you supplement your resources.  Whatever path you take, make sure that you do the following:

  • Hold students accountable for completing the pre-class assignment.
  • Provide students a way to pose questions about the content they are learning outside of class.
  • Create in-class activities that use what they have acquired before class.

Learn more about Adapting Materials. . .

Step 5: Extend learning beyond class through individual and collaborative practice.

How will the content and skills learned before and during this class prepare students for extending their learning after class (e.g. finishing the problem set, starting work on a project or a portion of an assignment, building upon what was begun in class to delve deeper into the topic, practicing alone or collaborating with peers, etc.)?

Students gain experience applying course content during class time, but they may also need additional practice after class.  Extending what happens inside the class to outside the class is a crucial step for students to gain mastery and meet the learning outcome.  Some ideas for deepening student understanding include:

  • Use discussion boards or academic social media to elaborate on ideas developed inside class.
  • Present additional problems (on the Canvas course site, publisher website, or from the textbook) for students to gain further practice on their own outside of class. Online assessment systems can be used to provide immediate feedback to students.
  • Create assignments that require students to take the skills and knowledge developed in class and apply it in a new way or to a new situation not covered in class.
  • Assign additional readings that further expands upon the concepts discussed in class.
  • Encourage students to create informal learning groups.
  • Develop a peer-led undergraduate study [PLUS] group where students come together once a week to work additional problems that expand upon the concepts being learned in class.

“How to Flip a Class” by the Faculty Innovation Center at the University of Texas Austin is licensed under Creative Commons A-NC-ND 4.0.