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Comments 5

Nick Schlotter | Mon, 08/04/2014 - 14:00

Just curious if anyone has a solution for students who respond badly to the flipped classroom setting.  I'm teaching a PChem course (Junior level, undergrad).  I get a few students who refuse to do pre-class work and don't want to discuss the material in class.  Both activities get participation points for any honest efforts.

Erich Blossey | Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:54

Maybe the use of OHS like Mastering or Sapling's materials would "make" the students prepare and come prepared for class. Not sure if the P-Chem materials of this type are available.

Some students need the highly interactive material that takes them through "baby" steps on the material with many questions/answers/hints to assess their understanding.

Rosemary Carlson's picture
Rosemary Carlson | Tue, 08/05/2014 - 14:42

Hi Nick, 

I don't know if I have much to offer, but I think it is important to try to change the student mindset. Emphasize the bigger picture with the students. Explain that we are teaching them chemistry, but more than that, we need to teach them skills that will make them competitive in the marketplace- things like critical thinking, communication, teamwork. We need them to become independent learners.  Many students resist this, especially if they have not experienced it in their earlier courses, but they need to realize that employers need them to be able to problem-solve, which takes a lot of practice. They need to realize that what you are asking is for them to work on the lower-level learning (knowledge, understanding in Bloom's taxonomy) so that while you are together in class, you can focus on the higher-level skills (applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.)  Emphasize to them that now that they are upper level students, this is part of their preparation for the workforce.  You might bring in a reference or two about what employers are looking for to back you up.  Here is one source:

Hart Research Associates. It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success (Washington, DC: AAC&U, 2013), www.aacu.org/leap/public_ opinion_research.cfm 

ALFREDO TIFI's picture
ALFREDO TIFI | Wed, 08/06/2014 - 04:13

I had such students too. And I had to defend myself against their parent and staff, as a "non-conventional teacher in a conventional school". These students learned how to cope with conventional classes because they were actually smarter than demanded by the average level of conventional classroom assessment. Their level of commitment and engagement was such low to undermine the sustainability of the whole flipped-constructivist methodology which was so effective for the others. They don't really wanted to be motivated, since they just want traditional school where they can easily demonstrate their primacy and success to the others at school while keeping to be really motivated by other extra-school interests. After some months of disengagement their presumption becomes just a pretence of being smarter than others. This kind of "negative leader" is socially and evolutively worth to be accounted for in the adolescent society. He (in my experience they are almost always males) constitutes the demonstration that educational strategies that are based on motivation and "freedom of learning" are faulty at this age. I believe that flipped and other kinds of constructivist classrooms, endowed with coherent evaluation criteria, which are ONLY based on engagement and commitment (as for your points), can be self-motivating, without having to invent continuously "golden-egg projects", except for such students. Neither conventional-formal instruction, nor flipped or other context based constructivist forms of mediation can be modifying for these students - unless they are "constrained" to live immersed in the nonconventional school from the very beginning. Then, remember that adolescent negative leaders have implicit adult leaders in any environment everywhere they live (at school, at home, etc.).

Given this premise, I think that a possible remedy to our common problem could be to make flipped classroom plus evaluation the standard methodology for at least two or three relevant subjects, including the leading teacher of the team! As long as the experience of flipped classroom will remain limited to one isolated teacher, you will have similar problems with presumptuous students and also with those students which have learning difficulties. Another useful remedy, is the institution of dialogical forms of presentation of the studied material where the presenter tries to gain a consensus, stimulating a debate, negotiation and a pool with a rubric. This kind of "agora" can be useful to level out differences between different kind of leadership (the aberrant and the good ones) and to favor the good one.

Brenda Gelinas | Sun, 08/31/2014 - 07:19

I would like to add my thoughts to the discussion of flipping. I teach AP Chemistry and Honors Chemistry.  I have been using videos now for 5 years. I have done entire years flipped, I have used videos as an option for kids to rewatch a lesson or if students are out and right now I am doing flipped where students are required to watch the videos at home. One of the things I did not like when I flipped a whole year and used mastery, where kids could move at their own pace as long as they were ready on test day, was I found it isolating. Students would be sitting in class with ear buds on or working some problems, but there was very little interaction.

I feel like this year, I have moved from videos being a passive lecture to an active lesson.  The idea for making big changes came from my experience taking a free college level gen chem course at Coursera.  What I experienced were the following:  I am playing the video and decide to open another tab or browser to check my mail and the video stops.  At first I thought it was a technical glitch but I soon discovered that it was intentional - the goal being to keep you focused.  The second thing that happened was that along the course of the video, a question would pop up and would not continue until I answered it.  Even though I was not taking the course for grade and did not know the professor, I wanted to be right so I found my focus on the content improve significantly. I decided to look for a way to do this with my videos. After doing some research and finding a couple of sites that will do this I discovered EdPuzzle. If you make videos for kids to watch, I highly recommend it.  It is very easy to use and I can modify videos I've already developed.  The way it works, is that you can either upload a video or use one from youtube (where I post mine) or vimeo or Khan Academy or a variety of other sites.  You can trim the video (Sometimes I will split my own videos into 2 parts as I try to keep the videos to 10 minutes or less).  You can add voice annotations or questions. I use the questions exclusively.  If I am demonstrating how to solve a problem, I generally ask the student to solve it before I show them. Research shows that they will comprehend and remember better if they do. They enter an answer, click continue and then the video continues with me showing how to solve it.  The last question I always ask is "what question do you have that were not answered in the video"? I can save this as an assignment and I can set it to "no skipping" or not. No skipping means that they have to watch the entire video all the way through the first time or else the next time they go in to watch it they have to start from the beginning.  Once they have watched it all the way through, subsequent times they can go in and skip around to any part they want to rewatch.  I embed these videos on our course Schoology page which means the kids don’t have to leave schoology to watch them (although they do need an EdPuzzle account – which is simple to set up)

In the morning, before class, I go in and look at the statistics. I can see the data for how questions were answered (and who selected which choice in MC type questions) and what kind of answers the free response questions generated.  I am always struck by the wide range of answers for the calculation problems.  One of the things I really appreciate is some calculation problems might take some kids 2 minutes to try but it might take someone else 20 minutes to try and by using EdPuzzle, I am allowing each student the amount of time they need - which is tough to do during lecture.  The last thing I check in my morning review is the answer to the questions "what questions do you still have"? and that is what I begin my lesson with that day.  This way kids know I am reviewing their work from the previous night and using it to guide my instruction. I also will point things out like what I call a "blow off" answer where students enter something just so they can continue the video.  


If you make videos and you haven't tried EdPuzzle, I highly recommend it! I also recommend watching a Ted Talk by Daphne Kohler (Stanford professor and cofounder of Coursera) titled "What We're Learning From Online Ed" where she talks about the value of these kinds of features.