I’m afraid this faculty member is not alone. There are many like this person, who are well into the twilight of their teaching careers and do not feel compelled to learn new teaching techniques because of their crutch of tenure and not being “required” to do anything. Even if they were required, there would be no consequences if they did not do it. Thus, the problem continues to plague the academy.

The scenario is simple–those who have not experienced online teaching and learning will be skeptical until they are provided with an opportunity to do it first hand–at which point they will leave it and never come back because it is not for them, or praise the benefits of making the curriculum accessible for our students.

I, too, was once a skeptic, but have grown to love online learning for many reasons. I know where these reluctant educators are coming from and, at one point, shared their apprehension.

As to disadvantages of a flipped classroom, I would have said five years ago that I would miss the personal face-to-face interaction with students. After a sabbatical and sitting smack in the middle of a mid-life transition in my life, I no longer miss those students and their (lack of) interaction and participation.

So, as instructors and professors weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the flipped classroom, I would unequivocally say yes – flip it.  But, flip it good.

Be mindful of the up-front work and attention to detail. Think of the students and what they need.  Use your empathy skills and feel what it is that students feel today and what they have to battle to learn and succeed. Think like a student. Guide, lead, facilitate, and mentor them online, and we’ll all be better off in the end.

Dr. Rich Schultz is an Associate Professor of Geography and Geosciences at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill., and holds a Ph.D. in environmental geochemistry from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Schultz is the sole or senior author of more than 60 publications, book chapters, and abstracts, and serves on a number of national councils and committees in connection with online learning and geography education. His major areas of research are geoscience education, online/distance learning, spatial cognition, Web 2.0 applications, geospatial thinking, global climate change, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and professional development for online instruction.


Add your opinion to the discussion.