I had a feeling this would happen.


I asked my 2nd year students for some verbal feedback about the flip teaching experiment we’re in. Instead of ‘normal’ lectures, I’ve created videos of the content which the students can watch at their own time. Some of the work they would normally do as ‘homework’ is now being done in class (hence the term flip teaching).

While the majority of the class are quite happy (or so they are saying to my face), some of the students would prefer to have me teach them directly rather than watch a video.

I believe this preference links to the teaching methodologies I use during a lecture. I get my class involved (active learning). They have to talk to each other, repeat main points and respond to quick-fire scenarios as well as, at times, taking notes while I go into a more ‘traditional’ lecture mode. In other words, I get them involved in their learning.

So it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that some of the students are finding my videos a bit on the dry side. They don’t get to hear my funny asides—yes, they are funny despite what you may have heard—because the videos are more factual and I don’t deviate as I tend to do during a lecture. The interactivity isn’t nearly the same as what they had with me lecturing them ‘live’ last academic year.

I’ve encouraged the students to try to watch the videos with others and not watch it on their own. The videos themselves have a number of stopping points where students are asked to pause the video and reflect on what they have learned, accompanied by little ditties. Version 6 of this song is an example. (I like cheesy stuff, okay?) I’ve worked hard to make the videos interesting and engaging.

So is flip teaching only successful if the original teaching/learning is less-engaging than the flip teaching videos?

Well, no. It’s clear that my students are engaging with the videos and their learning—their input during my tutorials clearly demonstrates this. And the majority of students find the videos are helping them to learn but in a different way. They are learning, they are note-taking and they are engaging with the content. (I’m convinced the students like the fact they can turn me off whenever they want!)

So I can’t dismiss flip teaching. I just wonder if those students who would rather have a lecture with me (rather than watch a video) would feel the same way if my teaching was boring in the first place.

On a side note, it is interesting to discover how the students are using the videos and the PDF version of the presentation slides to study. Some are reading the PDF version first and then watching the video to ‘fill in the blanks’. Others are printing out the PDF and following along with the video, adding their own notes. Others are taking written notes while watching the video, deciding the PDF is superfluous. It’s fascinating to learn how different students are finding study methodologies which suit their own needs and learning styles



2 thoughts on “Flip Teaching—Better if you’re boring?

  1. That’s an incredibly interesting article, John. Thanks for that. It helps me to solidify some thoughts which have been going around in my head. Perhaps I don’t need to flip the learning because I’m already transforming it (or so I’d like to think). 🙂

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