The View from a Flipped Classroom: Improved Student Success and Subject Mastery in Organic Chemistry

The View from a Flipped Classroom: Improved Student Success and Subject Mastery in Organic Chemistry

Bridget G. Trogden
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7464-6.ch007
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Flipped classroom pedagogy is one that is applicable for a multitude of disciplines and for course enrollments of various sizes. The focus of this chapter is to demonstrate the pedagogical effectiveness of flipping by describing the methodologies and assignments used in a flipped Organic Chemistry I course and by assessing the performance and experiences of students in a flipped course in comparison to those in a not flipped control section. Historical data and learning outcomes of students in not flipped courses is discussed as indicators of why the flipped pedagogy was implemented. Both quantitative and qualitative data are analyzed, along with the challenges and best practices for flipping. The findings have useful implications for educators interested in flipping their own classrooms, as well as for the researchers and administrators who support them.
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Technology is an educational disruption that seems to have much staying power. Multiple tools and strategies are now available that did not exist even a decade ago. However, technology simply added on to existing courses does not make a large impact in learning (Twigg, 2003). Rather, a complete rethinking of the academic experiences involved in a course can help to shift from a content-centered to a learning-centered environment, altering the learning experience for the student (Fink, 2003).

It is the responsibility of the teacher to examine the time spent in and out of the classroom on assignments and course-related activities. The challenge, however, is that students have varying abilities and interests in each academic subject and typically have a myriad of activities competing for their time. The modern educator must structure educational activities to be worthwhile or the student will avoid completing them. A common mistake made by many teachers is to assign readings or activities that are not used in class or to summarize them in class and thereby give the students a loophole for never fulfilling the expectation in the first place (Bowen, 2012). Teachers must respect the students enough to make class interesting and provide engagement that they cannot receive elsewhere. At least some time in class should regularly be reserved for working on active pedagogies. Students may be initially resistant to the unknown, but as they become familiar with new techniques, they adapt and develop positive attitudes about instructors’ new methodologies and uses of technology (Dahlstrom, Walker, & Dziubah, 2013).

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