Tuesday, 29 October 2013

An illustration of why and how you might flip your classroom

The following post outlines how I flipped my classroom session on the 25th October, for a lecture on IMDSCF003-13S1D (Communication and Study Skills). This post should answer the following questions;
  • why did I need to flip my classroom?
  • how did I do it?
There are a number of aims within my session which would mean it would be very difficult to cover the practical aspects within a 90 minute lecture. In particular, there is a peer assessed formative assessment task (500 words). The topic suites peer assessment as not only will students learn the skills associated with peer assessment (see Race 2006), but they'll also learn from each other in terms of case studies and application.

Given many of the students would not have any experience of peer assessment, and needed practical experience of applying the marking scheme to student work. It was important to dedicate time in the class for students to mark some examples. Therefore, to cover some key knowledge points I flipped the classroom as follows.

Pre-session Activity

The pre-session activity should take around 1 hour. The screenshot from LearnUCS illustrates my approach.

This model covered some knowledge transfer tasks (videos), gathering information from the students (quiz) and scaffolded reading (journal article).

I included a quiz (task 3) which was an open question which aimed to gather what social media people are currently using in their learning.

It could have been enhanced by better self reflection questions for the videos. This would give the students some scaffolding in terms of what they should take from the video.


A key point within a flipped classroom model is to use the material in the pre-session activity within the lecture. This is strongly associated with the need to provide feedback and student motivation.

Therefore, I applied a number of approaches to encourage (sign post) a re-visit on the pre-session activity within their assignment. For instance;
  • on one slide I included the names of those who had completed the pre-activity quiz (reference a big hands up), and on the same slide the percentage of the students who hadn’t logged in (easily identified using the LearnUCS Retention Centre).
  • the next slide was a selection of response to the quiz question which I discussed within the framework of the question.
  • I encouraged all students to visit LearnUCS where I’d added an item which listed all the quiz responses so they could learn from each other (apply ideas of Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick (2006) - 7 principles of good feedback).
  • I made reference to the referenced article when discussing a framework for effective implementation
This approached should have motivated students and linked the importance of the pre-session activity.
It also created a significant amount of time in the lecture session for the peer assessment activity. This included, talking through the marking criteria, and group work to mark a number of exemplars (using the clickers to quantify the discussion).

The post-session activity was to include an item in LearnUCS which summarised how I had marked the work and why. This would give a comparison for students when reflecting how they marked the work.

If you would like more information on how you might design effective flipped classroom activities, please contact the Elevate Team (elevate@ucs.ac.uk) to further discuss your ideas.


  1. Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick (2006) Rethinking Formative Assessment in HE: a theoretical model and seven principles of good feedback practice (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/assessment/web0015_rethinking_formative_assessment_in_he.pdf)
  2. Race (2006), A Lecturer's Toolkit, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lecturers-Toolkit-Practical-Assessment-Learning/dp/0415403820

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