Flipping the classroom – making my teaching more fun!

This blog post is part of the examination for the course IT in education I’m taking at Karolinska Institutet (KI). The course has introduced a number of different tools and techniques to help us as teachers in higher education to explore the benefits of using online tools in our teaching/learning activities. This examination assignment focuses on describing our current teaching practices, identifying a pedagogical problem that can be solved using ICT, writing a plan for how I will use ICT to solve this problem (and any support I might need in doing so), and finally to describe the results I hope to achieve.

Background – my current teaching scenario

I teach at the International master program in health informatics in at KI. The student group is very homogeneous with varied experiences and expertise; roughly half have a clinical background (physicians, nurses etc), whereas the other half have a technical background (software engineers, computer scientists etc). The scenario I have chosen for this assignment is quite narrow – one theme in one of my courses: prototyping. The learning outcomes are that the students should gain both theoretical and practical knowledge about prototyping in health informatics. Today I give a traditional lecture introducing the concepts, with shorter interactive parts, but with a lot of focus on transferring information to the students. Then the students work in smaller groups to develop their own prototypes, and at the end of the module they present their work and get feedback.

The pedagogical problem

As a teacher, I never have as much time as I would like to spend together with the students, and so I need to spend the time with them as best I can. Right now, I am active most of the time when I meet the students, whereas they are passively receiving information. It is not until they actually start to work in their groups that the questions occur – and then I’m not there! In addition, since the students have such varied level of experience and knowledge before, some students are already very familiar with prototyping methods and for them the lecture becomes very repetitive.

The plan

I have found a number of really good, short lectures from Stanford University on youtube that introduce the concept of prototyping. My plan is to use such learning objects to flip my classroom – to enable the students to prepare before we meet. That way the “passive” part of listening to a lecture is done before, alone. Of course I also want my students to be more active – so I will also try to activate their preparation time. Then the traditional lecture will be transformed into a prototyping workshop where we can work practically together – that’s usually when the important questions arise!

  1. Identify the learning objects (online movies/short lectures) that can replace important parts of my lecture.
  2. Formulate good questions the students can answer after having watched each short film.
  3. Identify important parts of my lecture material that are NOT covered by the learning objects I have found. This will probably include examples from healthcare, specific issues in health informatics etc. Then decide how to deal with these aspects – either make them part of the introduction to the workshop, or use Screencast-o-Matic to make movies of my own.
  4. Plan the workshop well to complement the information provided through the lecture films.

Expected results

I hope that the students will find the course more fun, more flexible, and more interactive – that they will learn more from having access to me as they work on developing their prototypes! For my own sake, I also hope that the course will be more fun to teach – I have enjoyed using the tools in this course so much!

This entry was posted in Teaching & learning reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Flipping the classroom – making my teaching more fun!

  1. Carina Bois says:

    Thank you Maria for a good example of how to implement flipping the classroom. As you point out, a combination of existing learning objects plus ones that you create yourself to “fill the gaps” is the best way to go. Flipping also should work well considering the fact that for some students the “lecture” materials will be stuff they already know and therefore they will be happy to spend their time with you in a constructive manner, being able to ask you questions when needed. For those not already familiar with the materials, a combination of questions and short video lectures will allow them to rewatch as needed and answer questions to help them consolidate their learning.
    Keep me posted on how this implementation works and how the students respond to your Flipping the classroom!

  2. Åsa W says:

    It has been interesting to follow your plan. You had thoughts on how to flip yor classroom from the beginning of the course and now you have an actual plan with different tools to use.
    From my point of view this must be an improvement compared to how the course is planned up til now. When the students get a chance to make use of the teachers knowlegdes in a more interactiv way it must be more fun and interesting for both sudents and the teacher.
    Good luck with the implementation!

  3. mariakvarnstrom2013 says:

    Hi Maria!
    I think that how you described your situation above really catches why to flip the class room; “It is not until they actually start to work in their groups that the questions occur – and then I’m not there!”…
    Your example seems very suitable for flipping the class room and I think that to make it “totally” flipped it would be better if you complete the missing parts with complementary films produced by you and your colleagues (as discussed above), instead of starting the seminar with the additional information. As we discussed at the course campus day it might be useful to make several shorter films and you could write a text about the clips and insert links. This would make it easier to change only parts of the material for next round(s) of the course. And by the way think it was really good to embed the films in pingpong and insert space for writing own notes, perhaps you already use that or is that something you plan to do?
    Good luck with your project and would be nice to hear later how it turned out!
    Best wishes from Maria

  4. Pingback: Final reflections on Flexible, Distance and Online Learning | Participatory eHealth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s