Flipped classroom model gains steam on campuses

The flipped classroom approach, heavily reliant on technology, may have reached a level of acceptance in higher education that makes is no longer experimental.

Educators say students’ attitudes improved in flipped classrooms.

Once pushed by higher education’s tech savviest educators and policymakers, the flipped model — which has students watch online lectures outside of class and complete homework in class — is now used, or will be used, in half of college lecture halls and classrooms, according to a survey released Nov. 19.

The survey, conducted by webcasting company Sonic Foundry and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), found a growing acceptance of the once-cutting edge flipped classroom approach, with eight in 10 respondents saying “improved mastery of information” is the top benefit for college students.

Eighty-four percent of educators said the flipped model was a “better learning experience” for their students.

Ralph Welsh, a public health sciences professor at Clemson University, said that while there were more high marks on end-of-semester student evaluations, there was also a jump in low marks. This, Welsh said, showed that the flipped model had at least some polarizing potential.

“Most students want the recorded lecture, but if the tradeoff is not seeing the professor face to face, it might not be worth it for all of them,” said Welsh, who has experimented with the flipped classroom. “They liked it, but they still wanted to see the professor face to face in the classroom.”

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