Bringing the flipped classroom to large lecture courses

October 29, 2014

Adopting a “flipped classroom” approach to teaching has been shown to promote collaborative learning and increased interaction between professors and students, but has been perceived as being difficult to implement in large lecture courses. However, researchers at Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning are working on ways to make it work. In 2013, the Center helped professor Brent Stockwell adopt the flipped approach to his 180-student biochemistry class. Stockwell uploaded videos and presentations to YouTube, along with short for-credit quizzes. After this initial experiment, Stockwell began adding new features, such as a polling service that would allow students to give him real-time responses to questions. He also divided his 180 students up into groups of 5, assigning them problems to work on as a group. Based on their success in Stockwell’s class, Center researchers moved on to an even bigger class in Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. While the experience for both professors was positive, challenges remained: space was often limited, and Stockwell said he sometimes had difficulty coming up with problems and case studies. Nevertheless, he was convinced of the value of the flipped approach, even in a large lecture course. Campus Technology