Innovative Instruction, Presentation, Teaching Advice, Tech Generation, TLT

Why should I flip my classroom?

    Flipping the classroom seems to be the newest buzzword in education, both in higher ed and in k12 but what are the benefits of this method and what exactly is a “flipped classroom”?   

Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom is a reversal of the norm, where class time that is usually spent lecturing while students dutifully take notes, is used for a more hands on approach such as group work or problem solving.  All lectures or readings should be done before class, so that students have knowledge of the subject matter when they walk into class and can use the class time to delve deeper into the material.  Many professors suggest a short quiz or worksheet to be completed before coming to class to keep students on track and engaged in the process.

What are the benefits of this method?

    A great resource for these questions can be found in a book called “Flip Your Classroom” by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams.  In it they discuss several great reasons to flip your classroom.

      1. Flipping helps busy students

           Some students (especially in college) are juggling academics, extracurriculars and jobs.  Things come up and not all students are able to attend every class. Flipping the classroom allows them to stay caught up on the material and even work ahead if they know they will be out.

      2. Flipping helps struggling students

           Students that tend to struggle to learn a concept can pause the lecture, lookup any information they might not understand and then resume.  They are     also able to rewind as many times as needed until they fully understand the concept.

      3. Flipping helps students of all abilities excel

           Students that struggle will have more time to absorb the material and students that excel and get bored are able to investigate the material more fully.     They are able to learn things they may not have had time to learn in a regular setting classroom.

      4. Flipping increases student-teacher interaction

           Flipping allows professors to help their students in a more one-on-one or one-on-group capacity.  It gives time for small group lecturing to groups that   may need more help and gives time to move about the classroom conversing with each student.

       5. Flipping allows teachers to know their students better

           Instead of lecturing at the front of the classroom while a sea of eyes stares back at you, flipping your classroom allows you to take time to walk around     your class and get to know your students.  This gives them a connection to their learning.

      6. Flipping allows for real differentiation

          Not only do the students have control of the lecture and what parts they need repeated or what parts they can move through quicker, they also have the   ability to work at a higher level in class or work closely with their professor on harder concepts.

      7. Flipping changes classroom management

          While the professor stands at the front of the room lecturing, it is easy for students to be on their phones or looking at Facebook but in a flipped                 classroom they are engaged.  They are working on concepts, they are thinking deeper and they are taking their knowledge to the next level.

Flipping the classroom research

    One study (Deslauriers et al., 2011) found that students who participated in a flipped classroom vs. an interactive lecture classroom were much more engaged and did about 33% better on their final evaluation.  Both classes were given eleven weeks of interactive lecture and at the twelfth week one class was flipped.  The classes showed no difference in score or engagement in the first eleven weeks.

Another study by Fautch (2014) conducted on an organic chemistry 1 course found that students showed greater comprehension of the material and tended to improve their performance on exams.  Students also felt more knowledgeable and more comfortable with the course material.

    Weaver and Sturtevant (2015) conducted a three year study at Purdue University within their chemistry major and found that students in a flipped classroom, throughout their studies, scored significantly higher when compared to their previous scores in a traditional classroom setting.  The majority of students had positive feelings about the format of the classroom.

How do I flip my classroom

There are numerous benefits to flipping your classroom and it doesn’t have to be an abstract concept anymore.  Flipping your classroom allows students to take pride and ownership of their learning.  This method allows them to explore areas of the curriculum that they may not have had time to explore in a traditional classroom or master areas that they may have been weak in.  Check out any of TLT’s training sessions about flipping your classroom at to get started!


DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332: 862-864.
Fautch, J. M. (2015). The flipped classroom for teaching organic chemistry in small classes: Is it effective? Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 16(1), 179-186.
Weaver, G. C., & Sturtevant, H. G. (2015). Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course. J. Chem. Educ. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(9), 1437-1448
Coterminal Angles
1-1-1, Innovative Instruction, TLT

Faculty Guest Post: Echo360 to (partially) Flip a Math Classroom

Today our guest blogger is Dr. Jason Howell, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. Please note that as of August 2015, Echo 360 is no longer available to CofC faculty as a campus license. Mediasite Desktop Recorder is the new replacement allowing for media creation and media sharing.


I was very excited to learn that I was selected to attend the Spring 2013 Faculty Technology Institute as I was very interested in learning about some of the latest and greatest innovations that could help me improve my overall effectiveness as a teacher.  Having taught college math courses since 1997, my teaching style and techniques evolved to include many software and hardware tools, including programmable calculators, mathematical software, and even lecturing with a tablet PC, but I felt that I was not fully taking advantage of what was currently available in terms of instructional technology.  The TLT staff did an excellent job and the FTI showed me lots of new tools that were available to enhance student learning.

One of the instruction techniques that was covered in the FTI was the inverted, or “flipped” classroom, in which students are responsible for absorbing new lecture content outside of class meetings.  This way, class meetings can be devoted to more interactive discussions about the course concepts or, as is often the case with math courses, working more problems in class.  One of the tools introduced at the FTI for this purpose was Echo360 Personal Capture.

This software will record your desktop, microphone, and webcam (optional) all together to help you create lectures or presentations.  I decided that this would be a great tool to try out for myself – if I can get my students to learn some basic ideas or concepts though watching a video outside of class, I could then devote more class time to working problems, which students are always clamoring for!  I was teaching Precalculus (MATH 111) at the time, and we were getting ready to cover trigonometric functions, so I decided that my first experiment would be to create a video on finding coterminal angles and evaluating the sine and cosine functions at these angles (if you want to know exactly what I’m talking about, watch the video below!).

The Echo360 software was very easy to download and install on my old Toshiba Tablet PC (still running Windows XP Tablet) and I was up and running in no time. This is a relatively old computer but I really like it for writing – I’m left-handed so writing on a tablet doesn’t always produce good results, and I’ve tried many tablets but this one works best for me.  I started by creating a worksheet that was only partially complete – and my goal was to work through the worksheet on the tablet while Echo360 captured the screen and my voiceover.  I created the worksheet and produced a PDF version, and I annotated the PDF using a program called PDF Annotator (, I’ve used it for years).  Meanwhile, my discussions of the worksheet were recorded using a USB microphone, and the Echo360 software was launched to capture everything together.

One disadvantage of Echo360 software is the inability to splice two captures together to make another.  While this might seem annoying at first, it forces you to do two (actually good) things:

  • You really need to rehearse your presentation of the material before you attempt to record, as you don’t want to have to redo the whole thing once you’re a few minutes in. This is good practice anyway, just as going over your lecture notes thoroughly/rehearsing your lecture helps you become more effective in the classroom.
  • You do not want to set out to create really long videos – in fact, it’s probably a good idea to break a long lecture into a series of shorter videos.  Depending on your discipline, a few short videos may be better to retain student attention, and they definitely will be more convenient for the students to work into their out-of-class schedules.

After a few mulligans I was finally able to record two videos that split a three-page worksheet into two coherent mini-lectures.  The two videos can be viewed here:

Coterminal Angles:

Evaluating Trig Functions:

Math Worksheet for Echo360 Lectures

**To access these videos, click or copy the link into your browser, login to Kaltura with your Cougars username and password, then click the link AGAIN to be taken to the video**

Once you create your videos using Echo360, you can share them on the college’s Echo360 server, and you can post a link in your OAKS course to the video. However, I don’t like the fact that Flash must be enabled in order for the videos to be streamed from the server – I find this quite limiting, as many students have iPads, iPods, or iPhones that will not play Flash content.  To work around this, I downloaded the m4v file and converted it to an mp4 movie file.  I then uploaded the MP4 files to Kaltura so students can access and play them on any device.  My MATH 111 students really liked the videos, especially the fact that they could rewind and play certain parts over and over – something they certainly can’t do in class!

Although these are the only videos I have done so far, I am planning on doing more as soon as I get time.  I think they could really help in many courses, such as Calculus and Discrete Structures.  In summary, the FTI was a great opportunity to learn some new and innovative ways to enhance student learning, and I successfully used Echo360 to create some lecture content for my students to view outside of class.