A flipped classroom approach to teaching first year students


A flipped classroom approach to teaching first year students

In the video below, Tim Jones, Senior Lecturer in TV Production, explains why he has chosen the flipped classroom approach to teaching his first year students on how to use technical equipment for TV production.

Evaluation of the use of flipped classroom

Placing the instructional content of the module on video had advantages for students compared with doing this via face-to-face teaching.

It allowed for asynchronous learning (Light, Cox and Caulkins 2009, p.193). Formative feedback from the trial showed that many students watched the videos more than once to reinforce their understanding. As one student commented, ‘I like the training videos as you can go back and watch things being shown to you if you are unsure, which makes it much more interactive than just reading about it’ (Yr1 SH Formative Feedback 2015-16). This was evident in the analytics. For example, 28 students watched a video on the use of Portaprompt a total of 64 times. Videos were also seen as useful for students if they had missed a class. ‘I have missed most sessions due to illness/technical issues, the training videos have been helpful in filling in some gaps’ (Yr1 SH Formative Feedback 2015-16). In doing so the videos effectively contribute to the University’s aim of ‘supporting success for all students’ by providing 24/7 support.

The use of video was also seen as useful in terms of the limited access students get to the specialist TV equipment. As one student stated, ‘although we have notes, it’s hard to look back over practical elements without the equipment, but the videos allow that to be possible’ (Yr1 SH Formative Feedback 2016-17).

When making the videos for the initial trial period, Tim experimented with different stylistic approaches. He found from student feedback that they clearly preferred shorter bite-sized videos (Zappe et al 2009, quoted in Bishop and Verleger 2013, p.10). The Blackboard analytics confirm this. For example, for a 5-minute video on using a piece of equipment called Portaprompt, students watched, on average, 84% of this duration, with all but two of the 28 viewers watching all of it. While students watching a 30-minute overview of Avid software, on average only watched 33% of the video, with only four out of 16 students watching all of it.

The most consistent point raised by student feedback was how the videos helped them feel prepared for the class sessions. Comments included: ‘Tim’s videos really helped and prepared me for the lecture and they were easy to follow and brief enough so I could go into the lecture confident’ (Yr1 SH Formative Feedback 2015-16). The fact that the module tutor starred in the videos was also an important factor to note. It helped develop the tutor’s relationship with the students and proved useful in building a positive learning environment where students felt comfortable.

Having watched the videos prior to classes meant that students grasped the basic training on equipment more quickly during taught sessions. This resulted in more time to apply this information and engage in higher-level activities during class time (Honeycutt and Garrett 2013 quoted in Bart 2014). It was now possible to include more advanced student-centred practical hands-on activities during classes such as making a live television segment for a programme. This enabled the students to apply their new knowledge to a practical situation. Importantly, there was also time to reflect upon this experience during class critiques at the end of the session. These types of meaningful learning activities engaged the students in active learning (Prince 2004).

The analytics from Blackboard provide interesting evidence of engagement and impact. The keenest student viewer watched 27 different videos a total of 48 times, spending 4 hours and 49 minutes viewing the videos.

Further resources and support

If you want to know more about how to produce simple videos to use in a flipped classroom context, please watch the following video, which provides detailed guidance on how to do make a video with a phone, that requires no special equipment or editing. You may also refer to Faculty Learning Technologists for support. [How to make effective videos with a phone]

Bart, M. (Ed.) (2014) Blended and flipped: exploring new models for effective teaching & learning.

Prince, M. (2004) Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3),pp. 223-231 (2004)

Light, G., Cox, R. and Calkins. S. (2009) Learning and teaching in higher education – the reflective professional. 2nd edn. London: Sage.

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