Friday, 27 January 2012

The Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom is an interesting concept in blended learning, focussing on literally 'flipping' the traditional model of education...

As Karl Fisch identified, regular homework requiring students to apply theory to problems/activities, highlights three groups;
  • A proportion who completed the work with no problems and who probably didn't need the practice
  • A second segment who wouldn't even attempt the homework (didn't want to; not enough time; lack of understanding)
  • A final group in the middle who would attempt the work, but become frustrated because they couldn't do it or had done it incorrectly.
So instead of 'lecturing' at the front of a class for an hour, this 'chalk & talk' 'transmission' element is recorded (short videos, podcasts, screencasts, etc) and given to students (on CD or online) to watch beforehand (or indeed afterwards). What would be homework i.e applying that information to problems, group work, etc, is now done in class - potentially overcoming the two 'problem groups' discussed above.

The original 'founders' of the Flipped Classroom suggests that 'flipping' increases Teacher to student, and Student to Student interaction, since 'the role of the teacher has changed from presenter of content to learning coach'. Having said that, and as Doug Belshaw highlights, it is based on certain assumptions about our education system in which "we've commoditised learning to such an extent that it's becoming indistinguishable from training".

To this, and many of his other points, I agree. We should challenge core assumptions about how we teach, and importantly, how we assess students. However, in the situation we are in today, I think the Flipped Classroom is a great idea: it could be the starting block for teachers to begin to innovate, and an opportunity to engage students through the VLE (Moodle), provide interactive online content, and free up class time to run more engaging and interactive classes. Subsequently, I think this can lead to increased personal interaction with students, increased formative feedback, and importantly, increased understanding and student satisfaction.

There are a number of services to help support this notion of the Flipped Classroom, whether that be existing videos from the Khan Academy (a library of over 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and computer science), YouTube or Open Content (i.e. free with some restrictions) from MIT OCW or the Open University's OpenLearn site. Closer to home, we have facilities to capture our own materials and make them available through the Institutional systems such as Equella or the Podcasting Server.

To give you a better idea on the Flipped Classroom, see the video below. The images I used above were also taken from an interesting infographic from
I'd love to hear your thoughts, and for those interested in implementing this approach, I'd be happy to help. Also keep your eye open for training and posts about the benefits of using multimedia (video, podcasting, screencasts, etc), to enhance learning, teaching and assessment...

Creative Commons License
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, 16 January 2012

How can we use Moodle to allow Students to Sign-up to 'things'?

A while back I was asked by a lecturer if Moodle could be used to somehow allow students to sign up to specific tutorial time slots. To be honest, I had to go away, have a play about and ask other colleagues, as Moodle doesn't have a straight-forward 'sign up sheet' tool.

However, having discussed this with a few colleagues, we quickly realised that the Moodle 'Choice Activity' is the perfect solution. The tool simply enables you to create a number of 'choices', and allows you to restrict the number of responses to say, one.

Sounds interesting right?
Catherine Wasiuk, the eLearning Support Officer at Hollings has created a short (5 min) video on setting up a tutorial booking system using the Choice activity, however this tool could easily be used for many other purposes. One that springs to mind would be the management of student projects. The various options could be listed and students could simply sign up to the project they are interested in. As it can be locked down to just one response, it's a first-come first-served basis...

Have a look at the video below and use the comments to leave any other suggestions for how the Choice activity might be used. As always, if you want to discuss the use of any technology in your teaching (not just Moodle), feel free to give me a shout...

Creative Commons License
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, 9 January 2012

60-Minute Makeovers

With the new term here many staff are keen to dust off their Moodle areas, tidy things up, and crack on with teaching. With this in mind, I have arranged a couple of sessions this month, entitled '60-Minute Makeovers' (admittedly I didn't come up with the title).

The sessions will encourage:
  • Good practice in Moodle
  • Help staff make their Moodle areas more visually appealing
  • Enhance accessibility in unit areas.
Some of the tips and suggestions around good practice might be of particular interest, given the student feedback and NSS.

Please use the Eventbrite booking form below to reserve your place, however for those unable to make the sessions, you could take a peek at the following guides:

Creative Commons License
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.