Great Article Detailing What You Need to Know about Flipped Classrooms

Some students in WRIT 510 at Winthrop are researching Flipped Classrooms. We research the topic out of interest, for future use, or for the annotated bibliography. Whether an article is published in 2014 or in 2012, new tools, perspectives, and information continually become available for all teachers and professors. Educause Learning Institute’s “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms” presents in seven steps how flipped classrooms grow, succeed, the free tools to use, and students’ positive and negative perspectives.

Educause opens its 2012 article with an excellent example. The student, Kyle, attends a class learning about food gardens. He watches flipped classroom lectures with quizzes from which he receives immediate feedback (Educause 1). In class, he collaborates with a team of students to “repurpose an area the size of an urban backyard into a visually appealing garden that is also a functional food source” (1). While the students cannot always meet to discuss problems that could occur in fruits, they use Google Docs to collaborate (Educause 1). On one hand, Kyle and his group display what Scott Warnock discusses in chapter 13 of Teaching Writing Online about collaboration online. While the group works together during f2f time, they also work together through discussion with an online tool.

Educause explains how flipped classrooms work at the university level. Professors embrace flipped classroom because their class time focuses on hands on learning and students’ questions and discussions (Educause 1-2). For example, a Penn State professor uses flipped classroom lectures for up to 1,300 students and class time for discussion. If there is hands on learning, the professor receives help from student assistants (2). Although he teaches large classes, the Penn State professor attempts to make his class feel smaller by allowing class time for discussion and activities. He recognizes students learn by doing.

Free Tool from a Harvard Professor? What!

While the article features many great components, the primary reason I chose the article is to share this tool. According to Educause, a physics professor has created a site called Learning Catalytics granting teachers “free interactive software enabling students to discuss, apply, and get feedback from what they hear in lecture” (2). While exploring the website, you can take a tour. On the site’s pricing page, you will see an instructor’s account is free.

If, like me, you’re wondering how to incorporate quizzes into a flipped classroom lesson making it more interactive, also check out Quizlet. Many professors and teachers use this as a way to give students instant feedback. Both Quizlet and Learning Catalytics provide options for professors in learning to make flipped classrooms participatory for students.

What Students Say …


According to Educause, some students like flipped classrooms because they participate more in f2f class. Students may also watch parts of the lecture again, and have time to “reflect” on what the professor is saying (Educause 2). Educause also presents a point that I had not considered. ESL students benefit from flipped classroom lectures because they can listen to the lecture more than once. Educause also states that a flipped classroom lesson is more beneficial when it includes captions “for those with hearing impairments” (2). While I wrote last week about how flipped classrooms could benefit students with disabilities, there are so many aspects about which we do not consider. What about students with hearing impairments? Just as a classroom teacher is responsible for differentiating instruction in f2f classes, he or she needs to do the same in a hybrid or flipped classroom.

At the university level, students sometimes perceive flipped classrooms as negative. According to Educause, some students wonder what they’re paying for if their professors’ lectures are available to everyone on the web (2). I think one way to counter this argument is to remember many universities have CMS on which professors upload their flipped classrooms. That way students do not feel cheapened by professors sharing their flipped classrooms with everyone on the Internet.


Educause Learning Institute. “7 Things You Should Know About … Flipped Classrooms.” Educause. 2012. Web. 13 July 2014.


Keep up the Pace and Collaboration

Response to Scott Warnock: Chapters 13 and 14

I like my schedule. In fact, I have a hard time adapting when changes occur. While changes are a part of life, Scott Warnock reiterates a significant point, from chapter 13 and earlier chapters, to keep a schedule.

Beneath the concept of keeping a schedule in an online environment, students need to know, or feel, the presence of the professor otherwise students may not keep up with the OW schedule, due dates, or search for materials. According to Warnock in chapter 13, students are creatures of habit, so the teacher must create a predictable schedule (143). Not new in Warnock’s book, he expresses the importance of predictability in earlier chapters and stresses them again in chapter 13. For example, a teacher sets up two days a week for deadlines. More than one assignment is due on a Monday, but students know when those assignments are due.

According to online teacher Stephanie Imig – whose article “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired: Teaching Writing in an Online Setting” that I included in my Week 4 research post — students in her online high school were expected to navigate online guides and links leading them through the writing process (81). The process left students feeling lost in the online environment because they did not have a paced schedule or connection to the online teacher.

From the same school where Stephanie Imig teaches, the calendar is courtesy of While Warnock does not mention it in chapter 13, an online calendar is another good way for students to have a visual pacing guide for a course. Since most college students are expected to use a syllabus, a calendar can be used for primary and secondary classes.

By having a few small, low-stakes assignments due throughout the week, Warnock writes that students are less likely to procrastinate with online work (146). Students become comfortable in an online environment when they know what is due and when, and the professor makes a continuous effort to communicate with students. Warnock states that one way students know their teachers are present is for teachers to make a video of themselves every other week and post it (146). This way students know that their work is not ignored, and most importantly, they are not ignored by the teacher.

Communication online also involves group work. In chapter 14, Warnock also reiterates, from previous chapters, that group work does not end in a f2f classroom. He uses a quote that stresses twenty-first century organizations looking for technological citizens able to use online communication tools (147). An online or hybrid teacher should remember collaboration is adaptable online. I think teachers in f2f classroom where the use of technology is increasing should also teach students to collaborate in an online environment. CMS, like Blackboard, includes group functions such as message boards or Wikis. Warnock writes that the CMS allows a group of students to set their boards or work, so only the group and teacher can see it (147). In some cases, online collaboration is easier because schedules sometimes disallow students to meet at a library or for a group study. Students can work asynchronously or discuss their projects in a chatroom synchronously.

Warnock mentions a great project for students called the argument website (148). I think this is adaptable for an online high school or traditional high school class in which technology is used. Students work together to form an argument whether it’s an essay or issue connected to a reading. Students form the argumentative writing skills required by most colleges in the U.S.

The argumentative project made me think of other assignments adaptable for an online environment. Literature circles for high school students could be used in an online environment. After students, along with the teacher, select the book they’re going to read, they host online discussions on a blog, message board, or in a chatroom. If students have questions for each other, they can post it on their group blog. The writing allows students to revisit their discussions for a future project, paper or response assignment a teacher gives them at the end of the reading.

Facilitating discussions about what constitutes peer review as an online discussion early in the semester should be a part of collaboration. While Warnock discusses the need for peer review, little is said about preparing students for the type of commentary they should use in a peer review. I think reading peer reviews and practicing online allows students more preparation for the actual peer reviews, and it prepares students for the professional world of academics.


Imig, Stephanie, and Kinloch, Valerie. “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired: Teaching in an Online Setting.” The English Journal 99.3 (2010): 81-83. JSTOR. Web. 27 June 2014.

Warnock, Scott W. “Pacing and Predictability: Help Students Get Comfortable in the OWcourse.” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 143-146. Print.

Warnock, Scott W. “Collaboration: Working in Virtual Groups.” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 147-151. Print.