Flipped Out or Flipped Off?

This week in Slate, I take on the “flipped classroom” fad, and I mean TAKE ON.

Like, I flipped my class last semester to see if it worked for me. (Spoiler alert: it did, but not in the way you might expect).

7 thoughts on “Flipped Out or Flipped Off?

  1. I loved this article, because so many of these new innovations like moocs and flipped classrooms start from the assumption that a lecture is the norm. My classes have always been a mix of small group work, activities, discussion, plus small amounts of interactive lecturing. A video lecture is the equivalent of students reading, but slower!


  2. My understanding is that the “flipped class” idea was developed in STEM to try to make STEM classes more like what humanities classes are naturally like – i.e. students have done some reading before they come to class, and more class time can be spent on discussion. I wouldn’t expect that flipping a humanities class would be very effective….

    I have this frustration with one-size-fits-all educational technology. I teach maths-heavy classes to engineers. For my subject, lecturing at the blackboard is much more like active learning than multimedia presentations, since the students sleep through the presentations. But there are many lecture theatres on our campus which no longer have chalkboards because they’re equipped with “up-to-date educational technologies” – i.e. a data projector. Educational instruction policies which ignore the best practice of the particular disciplines are incredibly short-sighted.


  3. Nice piece. I think the flipped fad is the result of STEM-centrism. In fields like mathematics, where even the good teaching sucks, there is really nothing to be learned by listening to a lecture and class discussion is nonexistent. Flipping is probably a way station to finally figuring out pedagogical techniques for STEM fields that actually work. Or at least I hope so.


  4. Loved the article! And especially the conclusion — small, discussion-based classes should be the ideal. It’s terrible how MOOCs have tried to make us forget everything we’ve known about education, from the k-12 experience to how colleges brag, front-and-center in glossy ads, about their small class sizes and chances for personal engagement with professors.


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