Student Engagement in a Flipped Course

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Title of Abstract: Student Engagement in a Flipped Course

Name of Author: William Wischusen
Author Company or Institution: Louisiana State University
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: Engagement Flipped Course Introductory Biology

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Steven Pomarico, Louisiana State University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goal of this project was to determine the impact of different student activities commonly used in flipped classes on student performance. The objective was to determine which of the activities had the greatest impact on student learning. Finally we were interested in how engaged students were in these various activities. The student activities studied included homework, pre-lecture videos, practice exams, and in-class quizzes/problems.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: A large, ~900 student, introductory biology course was taught using a flipped format. The course elements included graded homework, practice exams, in-class quizzes, and pre-lecture videos.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: In an effort to increase student success while maintaining or increasing the rigor of an introductory biology course a section of this course was ‘flipped’ in the Fall 2012 semester. This was a very large section, 898 students. A very structured approach to the course was used, including on-line quizzes and pre-lecture videos prior to every class meeting as well as weekly on-line practice tests. This significantly reduced the amount of time spent lecturing during the class periods and dramatically increased the amount of time devoted to active-learning activities. Student completion of and performance on each of the various activities was correlated with performance on the courses exams. Overall student performance was compared to previous years when the course was taught in a traditional lecture-based format.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Each of the student activities had a positive correlation with exam performance. This was generally true whether the analysis was done using student completion of or student performance on the various activities.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The greatest barrier to attempting this change was the thought of re-structuring a course that I have taught numerous times and the effort required to make this change. Flipping a class requires the development of a large amount of new material. One of the most daunting was the development of new in-class activities that would focus the students on applying the material and concepts that they had been exposed to in the pre-lecture videos and on-line quizzes. Now that I have created many of these materials I can focus my future efforts on refining these materials and this approach. These materials should also lower the implementation barriers for other instructors in this course.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: This meeting is the first step in the process of disseminating the results. This first study will be followed up during the Fall of 2013. The combined results will then be written up for publication and presentation at subsequent meetings.

Acknowledgements: Department of Biological Sciences