The art of flipping : five teachers share their stories

A guest post from Dr Brigid Magner – College of Design and Social Context
On 28 May, ‘Flipped Classroom – Five Years On’ brought together teachers across the university to talk about their practice of flipped classroom teaching. A collaboration between Pauline Porcaro (SEH) and myself (Media & Communication) this event aimed to reflect on at least five years of practice amongst teaching staff (longer in some cases) and to consider future innovations.
I met Pauline at one of a series of Professional Development workshops she organised in 2014. These wonderful workshops gave me to confidence to begin flipping my two literary studies courses in 2015. I am still doing this in 2019 and cannot imagine going back to ‘old fashioned’ lectures. However, as a flipper I sometimes feel isolated, so this session represented a way for me to reach out to fellow practitioners in other disciplines.
The session itself modelled Flipped teaching by asking people to fill out a survey and do some pre-reading beforehand (which some people didn’t do, like real students!)
Panel participants included Assoc. Prof. Cindy O’Malley (School of Health and Biomedical Sciences), Prof. Colin Kestell (School of Engineering), Kirsten Balding (School of Vocational Engineering and Health Sciences) and myself.
After a lively introduction by Pauline and some compelling data from Cindy about the effectiveness of the flipped approach (see full presentation) we talked about our ‘Aha’ moments and described our use of in-class activities to keep students active and awake. Ideas included the use of avatars in lecture videos, speed-dating, quizzes and reading aloud to name a few.
Kirsten talked about the problems involved with team teaching when other staff are not keen to try flipping. Others noted that students don’t always do the required reading/viewing. Panellists recommended that textual consumption before class should be fun, relatable and embedded in the design of the course so students can’t move forward without engaging with it.
Despite a noisy door which kept opening during our discussion, and a minor mobile emergency for one of the participants, the event was satisfying for me, reaffirming my decision to flip and encouraging me to keep developing my practice into the future.