Why I flipped
This class is taught using a flipped model to enable students to watch lecture videos before coming to class. Leaving class time free to work in small groups on a variety activities designed to help students check and demonstrate their learning progress, including: worksheets, developing pencasts, performing demonstrations, chemistry jeopardy, and interpretative dance. I feel this approach gives students support from me as well as their peers with the most difficult part of analytical chemistry- actually working the problems.
Simple lecture videos
I flipped my entire class the first time I taught CHEM 212, so I was really looking for a simple way to make lecture material digestible for students. I did a lot of internet research and found that I hate screencasts because they are really boring and often lengthy and hard to follow. I’ve exclusively used the FIZZ method and recorded on my phone. The total cost for the semester was $50 in white boards, $10 for dry erase pens. More recently, I have been going back and revising videos in Captivate to make them more interactive.
The thing I think screencast videos do really well is show students how to use computer programs. I ask my students to work a lot in Excel and have used both camtasia and captivate (which I think is easier to use and makes a nicer product) to make videos to help students negotiate Excel.
One of the most useful things I can do for the students in my class is work examples for them. I do a lot of this in class, but I also like them to have access to these resources outside of class. Working the problems is the hard part, so I like pencasts because students can see me writing while hearing a narration of my thought process. This really helps when I make assumptions or use short cuts that are valid, but might not come through without the narration.
The main reason I flipped was so that my students wouldn’t have to struggle with working the problems the way I did when I took the class (which I still remember in vivid detail). With the flipped method, I can work more examples in class and also give them a chance to practice with their peers and I right there to help out when they get stuck. I’m pretty informal about forming groups so far and I find that students are really willing to discuss problems and help each other out. By having students collect equations and facts before class, it makes working problems more efficient.
I try to spice up class with more than just working problems. I try to do something different at least once a week, including:
acting out chemical concepts like solubility product, or electrochemical cells
playing jeopardy to test definitions or easy calculations
What I’ve Learned
In my two year experience with flipping, I have found that what I really want students to do is to collect the facts outside class. I have facilitated this a lot by asking them to fill out worksheets that help them organize definitions, equations, diagram instruments, or describe a concept in their own words. I also ask students to at least try a problem or two before coming to class so that they either realize that they are able to do the problems or they need more help. I have found that the worksheets are really helpful to students in collecting and organizing the facts and they are great study aids near test time!