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Topic: "Flipping in IHE STEM classrooms"

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Topic started by: Brian Drayton on 12/5/16

Flipped or inverted classrooms - there are many names for strategies to move the college STEM classroom away from being lecture (and lecturer) centered, to being more student-centered and active. Are you a college STEM teacher who's experimenting with this approach? What have you tried? Does it work for some courses or topics better than others? Has technology made the difference?

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Flipped Green Chemistry

posted by: Felicia Etzkorn on 12/9/2016 11:34 am

I created an upper undergraduate course in Green Chemistry in 2007. For two years, I have taught it as a modified flipped classroom. I am writing my own textbook based on case studies from the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. I tell the students reading the chapters/case studies before the classes that week is mandatory. I enforce that by giving a quick quiz at the beginning of class once a week. I write problem sets intended to guide the students to dig deeper into the reading materials, using the internet to supplement the text. In class, we work on about half of the problems together. I wander the room, looking at their work, encouraging and guiding as needed. When a mistake or wrong pathway seems common, I stop and give mini-lectures, still using a Socratic method. When most of the students have mostly completed the problem, I then write out my answer on the problem set sheet using a doc-camera, and explaining my thinking as I write. After each exam, I identify problems that half or more of the students got wrong, find one student who got it right. Then I give them 5 minutes to prepare their correct explanation to present to the class. This avoids the response that they guessed correctly! Long answer questions are typically delegated to the strongest students in the class, but not always. I try to find something for each student to do, which works with these smaller class sizes, typically 10 - 20 students. Exams are then pedagogical exercises rather than simply assessment. The students have really caught onto this active learning environment, and they have responded by higher attendance in class, and better performance on exams.