Contact FutureLearn for Support
Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsI did try to pre-record my lectures and then teach in more of a tutorial context. So using the lectures, ask the students what I meant by certain things, try to put concepts into practise, into in-class activities. But I found that was a bit of a clanger, because I expected the students to actually look at the lectures before they came to lectures. They didn't always do that. So I was expecting students to be well-prepared. But I teach Masters students. And, try as you may to want students to do certain things, they are adult, they have very busy lives, they often have children, as well as a big job. Sure, I have some that are international students, that are full time.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondBut they're not all like that. So I had to adjust my expectations of them. So basically, I give a mini lecture, and then I allow them to interrupt all the time, ask questions. And I also pose questions to them during that time. And we went very ultra flip, where students would had to have prepared, had to have watched 15-minute videos before they came to class, and then participate in doing presentations, debates. And we found there were a lot of challenges with that. Particularly, we had class sizes of 49 students to start, and presentations just weren't working. The rooms, they're very big. And it was quite confronting to the students to be presenting in front of 47 of their peers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 secondsAnd so we had to have a rethink. And we came in 2015 to more of the idea of each team working on problems. So initially we started off with 20 minute videos with PowerPoint slide and voice, and because we thought that that's what students want. Students just want this information given to them, and in this format. And I did try some experiments of different styles of doing some filming on location so at the Stock Exchange. And I thought that was really exciting, and I thought it was really good. But when I got the feedback from the students, they actually said they preferred the PowerPoint slide and voice. So I had to go back to the drawing board.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 secondsAnd over the summer period 2015, I went through all of the videos, and all of the feedback that we got. And it was actually work-along videos that were really great for the students. And they were short, they were between two minutes to five minutes. And so the student could download the PDF and they could fill it in along with the video. And they were the types of videos that were really necessary for this technical content. So they've come in with a really traditional experience in the first semester. And then semester two, it was incredibly hard to get them to do things independently, to do the preparation for the class.

Skip to 3 minutes and 45 secondsOnly the best students, the most motivated, will be doing the preparation. I think the challenge online is to still make it personal. I know that students like to see you as a face in your course. You are the person that's there, they see you often, they see you around. And that experience can be done online. It's more difficult, yes. So that sense of community can be harder to foster. One of the challenges of working online, and I've heard this from the student, is the fact that it makes the students responsible for their own explorations to some extent.

Skip to 4 minutes and 32 secondsIn a lecture theatre, you can have gone out all night last night and stumble into the lecture theatre and fall asleep and you'll still get something kind of coming to you subconsciously. When it's online, you have to log in and actually do the research, the reading and the listening. Otherwise it's not going to be much good to you. And this is a challenge, and I don't think one that can be very effectively resolved by just looking at the stats of when people log in and log off and being too draconian about that without damaging the culture of that learning community.

Skip to 5 minutes and 11 secondsOne way that I've gotten around that has been suggested by students themselves to me, which is to have a non-assessable quiz that brings together some of the knowledges. This is really good, especially for subjects that have final exams, because the students can use this for revision and have that sense of wow, I've been exploring widely but these are the touchstones, these are some of the kind of concepts and I do know them. That's one way, I guess around that. The other way is to just keep it interesting. There's something online where you are watching videos, you're listening to music, it's a very multimodal experience.

Skip to 5 minutes and 54 secondsAnd the feedback I get from the students is that they really enjoy engaging with all this different stuff. Another way of ensuring that they are engaging the material is things like reflective journals and having ways for the students to engage with the material thoughtfully and then maybe apply it in their own lives, in their own work in some way. So I think what I tried to do with every single component of the course, whether it's delivering content or assessment or feedback, is that it continues in both the online and the face-to-face session.

Skip to 6 minutes and 34 secondsOne of the big things that I've had for our students, particular for one group of our students, that may not be as high performing as most of the other students who will come to our courses, is that they really find this movement from the face-to-face session to the online session very, very hard to do.

Skip to 6 minutes and 57 secondsAnd so in the last two years, I've really worked a lot around developing resources to actually map for students what's happening in the face-to-face session and what's happening in the online session, and how they integrate it and showing them that map so that they actually can see how they all fit together, and how they're learning the one stuff here and doing the application there, but they're actually around the same content. And so they need to actually prove that they can do those kind of things. So really, really important to actually map for the students what we're doing. And through the entire process, to actually speak to them about the design of the course so that they understand what is happening.

Skip to 7 minutes and 40 secondsI think in the first few years, I did lots of things and then realised from the feedback, actually the students couldn't understand what I was trying to do, and they didn't like that. But after that in the following year, I actually showed them every week or every second week, what we were doing, where we are, where we're going, and that actually worked a lot better. They actually wanted to know what's happening, and they wanted to have some idea of the design of the course.

Blended and flipped learning: Lessons Learned

In this video (6:27) UNSW academics share some of their blended and flipped learning experiences. Insights include the need to:

  • know your cohort and their expectations of the course
  • make major changes to the course delivery, and the outcomes for the students.
  • be flexible and try something new, and change it if when it doesn’t work
  • meet the challenge of making the online personal
  • make students more responsible for their own learning and exploration
  • connect the face-to-face with the online, and map the integration for the students.
  • be transparent about the design of course.

Academics in context

Information about the academic staff in this video and their professional contexts may be found in the Academics in context document.

Why use flipped classrooms?

Some benefits of the flipped classroom were identified in Step 2.3. Additional potential benefits of using a flipped classroom includes, but are not limited to, the fact that it can:

  • provide an opportunity for reflection
  • be used to revisit important concepts and content, checking understanding and clearing up misconceptions
  • assist students with accessibility concerns
  • assist students with English as a second language
  • help students revise content
  • assist peer learning and social interaction through collaborative projects
  • teach students to take responsibility for own learning
  • increase student-to-student engagement
  • shift priorities from covering materials to mastering.

Challenges that can arise when using flipped classrooms include:

  • Students may not be prepared.
  • Time, expertise and effort are needed to create/source videos.
  • A flipped classroom requires careful preparation, and the right mix of out-of-class and in-class elements.
  • It is not appropriate for some types of content.
  • Students may not immediately understand the value of this model.
  • Equipment and access for students to view video lectures may be an issue.
  • There may be problems with the availability of class spaces that support active and collaborative work.
  • The flipped classroom entails a change in role of students and staff. Students need to own their learning and teachers need to become facilitators.

How can I teach effectively using flipped classrooms?

  • Communicate the rationale behind the flipped classroom to your students.
  • Provide incentives for students to prepare for class.
  • Provide clear connections between in-class and out-of-class activities.
  • Ensure that classroom activities are clearly defined and well structured to suit the purpose.
  • Allow sufficient time for students to carry out their assignments.
  • Provide facilitation and guidance that supports a learning community.
  • Provide prompt and adaptive feedback on group and project work.
  • Utilise technologies that are familiar and easy to access.

Reflection point

Reflect on the challenges of blended or flipped learning. Now note the strategies for effective teaching for flipped learning.

Talking point

Within your own educational context, consider a situation where you have tried a flipped class experience. Post within the Comment forum what challenges you may have faced, and what lessons you learned from that experience.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Educational Design in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney