Sarah Churchill, Sheffield Hallam University and M. Polly McGuigan, University of Bath
‘Flipping’ the module involved students undertaking directed pre-lecture work (online lectures/directed reading and weekly online quizzes) to acquire new “Fact-based” knowledge, which was built upon in lecture time, allowing higher level skills such as discussion, critical analysis, calculations and problem solving, which were traditionally completed outside of lecture time to be undertaken with tutor guidance.
There was no evidence of higher marks in summative assessments when compared to non-flipped years. However, students’ responses to questions regarding how well they felt they had met the learning outcomes were relatively positive.
Student attendance and completion of preparatory work decreased as the module progressed. Whilst there was no previous data to compare this to, this was a worrying pattern. Comparing responses of the same cohort to selected questions from the National Survey of Student Engagement in this and a non-flipped module found that were similarly challenged by the two units, but reported that they were more likely to come to lectures prepared for the flipped unit than the traditionally taught unit. Students were similarly likely to ask questions in taught sessions in the two units, but more likely to ask questions via email or online in the flipped unit.
Student feedback (informal, module evaluation and focus group) found that, in general, students who responded appeared to like the flipped approach. They valued lectures being more applied and liked the self-paced nature of the online lectures, although often found they were too long.
Tutors on the module enjoyed the more applied nature of the lectures. However, flipping the whole module increased workload. Additionally, when some students had not engaged with the preparatory material this meant lecture time was lost to going over content that should have already been covered. This was demotivating to students who were prepared. Staff felt that students suffered “quiz fatigue” and disengaged as the module progressed.
We would recommend that this approach be continued but with a greater balance between flipped and traditional lectures and fewer quizzes in order to maintain variety and engagement with the module. Additionally, online lectures need to be relatively short (~10 minutes) to maintain attention.