Embracing ‘the flip’ Flipped classroom model turns traditional education on its head
n a traditional Spanish class, students might listen to lectures and take tests in class, while completing exercises outside of school. In MCC instructor Dallas Jurisevic’s hybrid Spanish class, the opposite happens. Lecturing transpires outside the classroom (most often online), and “homework” happens during class via engaging activities, like an iPad-enhanced, student-created scavenger hunt. This reversal of the traditional teaching formula is what’s known as “the flip.” In K-12 schools and at colleges and universities, teachers are experimenting with the flipped classroom model and inverting conventional methods. At MCC, instructors say the flipped classroom encourages deeper learning, empowers students to take charge of their education and makes better use of class time. “Instead of trying to be the ‘sage on the stage,’ the flipped classroom puts students in charge of their learning and helps them take control of their future,” said automotive technology instructor Al Cox. “Teachers become the facilitator, not the entertainer.”
MCC’s typical flipped classroom is a hybrid course. Students meet face-to-face about 50 percent of the time, while the other half is replaced with online study and learning activities. Instead of meeting on campus twice per week, students come to class once a week with the expectation that they are ready and able to apply the course concepts that have been presented online. “A flipped classroom is all about applied learning,” said Tom McDonnell, dean of languages and visual arts. “Because the flipped model emphasizes application, the classroom is much more engaging.” In the past year, MCC’s hybrid course offerings have multiplied. Students can take hybrid classes in accounting, art history, chemistry, economics, healthcare information management systems, English, horticulture, IT, sociology, Spanish and more. The hybrid model allows students unique benefits, including the flexibility to choose classes and arrange study time according to their schedule. Instructors can devote more time in class to revisit difficult concepts, give instant feedback and provide individualized support. Plus, McDonnell said, students like the courses better. “Our retention in our hybrid Spanish classes is better than in our regular on-campus classes or our online classes,” he said.
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"Community" is the quarterly magazine of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska.