I just facilitated a webinar sponsored by Magna Publications focused on Assessment Strategies for the Flipped Classroom. More than 40 campuses from across the country participated in the event, and it was an excellent discussion about how to think about formative and summative assessment strategies in student-centered learning environments.
As with almost every workshop, there are always leftover questions that we didn’t have a chance to address during the event. A few days after the webinar, I always review and reply to these leftover questions and create a resource document for all of the participants. As I read through the questions, I saw one from a faculty member at Seattle University. The question was, “What about using flipped learning in online courses?” And this question leads me to The One Takeaway for this event.
Regardless of which model or definition of flipped learning you use, most of the discussion and research focuses on what students do during the in-person class time they share with you and their peers. But what if there isn’t an “in person” time? What if the whole course is online?
As we all know, online learning environments present different challenges for educators and students. And in the case of flipped learning, the concept of “class time” takes on a whole new meaning. In particular, when the online course is designed as an asynchronous learning environment, students are “in class” at different times. They often encounter the material as individual learners instead of working with their peers in real-time collaborative groups. The instructor may not be in the online space when the students logs on and begins to work through the online activities.
So what exactly does it mean to say the take prior-to-class work takes place “out of class” and the in-class work take place “in class” in such a dynamic learning environment? This question intrigued me so much that I decided my next webinar will be on how to flip online classes! (Date to be announced.)
In an effort to start the discussion, I can share one example of how I flip online professional development workshops. I’m not sure if this is the “right” way to do it, but it’s a start. I teach online workshops to hundreds of graduate teaching assistants throughout the year, and all of these events are asynchronous. I build a workshop that usually involves a reading or video, self-quiz, and then an interactive discussion board activity where the participants are working in small groups. I consider the group space (the space where they are working together instead of watching a video or reading on their own) as the “flippable” moment. I usually create a scenario, case study, or problem that involves multiple levels of discussion within the group to ensure they are working together and responding to each other. So the flip isn’t based on a certain time, but it’s based on the space the students share with each other in the online environment.
But I’m not so sure that’s the answer either. After all, you can FLIP learning activities with individual learners. The FLIP doesn’t always mean working in groups.
So this was a great question (Thanks for asking it Seattle U!), and it led me The One Takeaway from this event. I think we should explore what the FLIP might look like in online learning environments, especially since so many of our classes, meetings, and training sessions are heading in that direction.
Have you had success with the flipped model in your online courses? I’d love to hear a few examples and ideas! Maybe I can feature your work in the next webinar!