Time Well Spent: Flipped Classrooms and Effective Teaching Practices

Time Well Spent: Flipped Classrooms and Effective Teaching Practices

Kyle T. Fassett (Indiana University – Bloomington, USA), Allison BrckaLorenz (Indiana University – Bloomington, USA), Joe Strickland (Indiana University – Bloomington, USA) and Amy K. Ribera (School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0119-1.ch020
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Good teaching practices are the crux of student education and require constant evaluation to meet current generations' learning needs. Flipped classrooms have sought a foothold in higher education to provide opportunities for deep learning through the delivery of content online prior to attending class while having activities related to processing and applying the information during class. Using a large-scale, multi-institution study of faculty teaching flipped courses, this study empirically links flipped procedures to other forms of effective educational practice and additionally focuses on the motivations and impacts on the faculty side of this pedagogical practice. Findings indicate numerous learning and development benefits for students with implications for supporting and motivating faculty across disciplines, faculty identities, and course types.
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A new generation of student beckons a new learning environment and many scholars point toward flipped classrooms as a solution (Bishop & Verleger, 2013; Gannod, Burge & Helmick, 2008; Roehl, Reddy & Shannon, 2013). Flipped classrooms have sought a foothold in higher education to provide opportunities for deep learning through layering course material throughout each class session (Du, Fu, & Wang, 2014; Herreid & Schiller, 2013), which is known to reinforce the importance of cumulative knowledge and application (Lang, 2016). Although flipped practices can take many forms, there are a few common indicators. Often faculty provide students with study questions while viewing at-home modules to help process the content as they normally would during class. Students do not often ask questions in large lectures, and few students reported missing the opportunity to do so while taking a flipped course (Foertsch et al., 2002). Additionally, collaborative learning is frequently a component of a flipped class (Gannod et al., 2008; Foertsch et. al, 2002). This class structure professionalizes students by providing skills they will need in the workforce (Foertsch et al., 2002).

Good teaching practices are the crux of student education (Bain, 2004), and require constant evaluation to meet current generations’ learning needs (Seemiller & Grace, 2016). Assessment of flipped classrooms have historically had mixed results; however, the active learning component makes it a strong contender for modern higher education (Nilson, 2016; Roehl, Reddy & Shannon, 2013). However, little is known about faculty perspectives related to flipped courses as well as the link between course design and student engagement. The study seeks to weigh the costs of a flipped classroom to the benefits by answering the following research questions:

  • 1.

    What kinds of faculty and in what types of courses are more likely to be flipped?

  • 2.

    What factors most strongly motivate faculty to flip their courses?

  • 3.

    How does the amount of time faculty spend on teaching-related practices differ in flipped and traditional courses?

  • 4.

    How does having a flipped course relate to effective educational practices?



Student engagement is defined in higher education as the time and effort students put forth toward meaningful educational opportunities (Kuh, 2009). Often the onus is placed on students, yet faculty have a shared role in creating environments conducive to student learning (Chen, Lattuca, & Hamilton, 2008; Lester, 2013). Faculty engagement in the teaching and learning process is vital to student success. Umbach and Wawrzynski (2005) found frequent student-faculty interactions during courses was positively related to increased student perceptions of a challenging, active, and collaborative learning environment. Moreover, the students report higher social and personal development when having more frequent faculty interactions in classrooms (Umbach & Wawrzynski, 2005). These insights are promising as flipped-designed courses free up time for increased student-faculty interactions in classes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Effective Teaching Practices: The methods in which instructors organize their lessons, use descriptive examples in class, and provide students feedback for work among other indicators.

FSSE Scales: Several scales used in analyses measuring various constructs including: Higher Order Learning, Reflective and Integrative Learning, and Effective Teaching Practices.

Course Goals: The anticipated outcomes faculty desire for their students such as, advance writing, numeracy, or critical thinking skills.

Reflective and Integrative Learning: The processes by which students are encouraged to connect material to societal issues, reflect on strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and combine knowledge from other coursework.

Higher Order Learning: The emphasis of course material challenging students to apply theories to practice, analyze new ideas, and form new meanings based on content.

FSSE: The Faculty Survey of Student Engagement is a research instrument used to measure teaching practices of instructors at four-year colleges and universities.

Flipped Classroom: A flipped course swaps traditional in-class learning with typical out-of-class learning. For instance, new information is delivered online prior to attending class while activities related to processing and applying the information are completed during class.

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