Flipped Classrooms: the Good, the Bad, and the Secrets to Survival.

Written by AMBER ALLEN

Many are wondering, “What are these ‘flipped’ classrooms?” No, this is not referring to the layout or shape of a classroom, but the method by which the curriculum is exposed to us students.

The definition of a flipped classroom is a course that requires students to learn the material outside of class through activities such as learning modules, worksheets, and textbook reading. Then, when the students return to lecture the professor presents problem solving exercises such as example test questions, worksheets, and case studies. If you have a flipped classroom you are aware of the responsibility and outside-of-class performance that it requires. There are many different opinions on the usefulness and efficiency of flipped classrooms. I interviewed a few professors and students their opinions on the benefits and downfalls of this classroom model.

When asked “What do you believe are the benefits of the flipped classroom model?” fourth year student, Athena Metaxas, commented on how she enjoys the time flexibility that comes with videos in a learning module. When in lecture, students rarely have the opportunity to ask a teacher to stop and explain a concept again because of time limitations. However, a video can be stopped and replayed as many times as needed.

Introduction to Biology Professor, Dr. Latham, stated that one of the many benefits of flipped classes is exposing students to concepts outside of class so they learn some of the basics on their own and better understand these basics through resources (provided by instructor) as well as use help of their classmates. Students can then bring their questions to class and the instructor can help fill gaps and explain concepts as needed.

On the other hand, first-year student, Skyllar McDaniel, voiced her concern towards the difficulty of understanding complex concepts independently. Similarly, Dr. Latham agreed the new model challenges professor’s creativity. Professors are required to come up with innovative ways to get the students involved in the classroom discussions in order to apply what they have learned. Although many students believe that flipped classes are the result of lethargic professors, Dr. Latham says that teachers are actually putting a higher level of effort into their lecture curriculum.

To those of you who are “first-timers” in a flipped classroom, going through the transformation from high school to college, or maybe even have flipped classes coming your way in the future, here are some advice.. McDaniel stated, “Self discipline is the key to success”. She advised that students should learn how to manage their time early and discipline themselves to keep up with the outside-of-class learning. Similarly, Metaxas suggested that students should keep up with the textbook reading and do practice problems at the end of each chapter. She also confirmed that lecture does not always include everything in depth. Some professors have to skim over smaller concepts in order to get to more complex one. The textbook covers the small concepts more in debt, and these concepts will still be on exams. Dr. Latham recommended that students use their peers to help establish a better understanding of the difficult concepts. She also advised that students learn responsibility and follow textbook assignments.

Although the flipped classroom model has its advantages and disadvantages, there are habits that a student can create that will assist them throughout their experience in these classrooms. The “flipped” classroom model challenges responsibility, which is a characteristic that comes with becoming a student in higher education.

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