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Digital Pedagogy - A Guide for Librarians, Faculty, and Students

This guide is meant to inform the user about Digital Pedagogy. It includes information on educational theory, a collection of case studies, and resources relevant to the study of digital pedagogy.

Benefits of Flipped Classrooms

Benefits of Flipped Classrooms

In her article, "The Flipped Classroom: Assessing an Innovative Teaching Model for Effective and Engaging Library Instruction: Arnold-Garza presents numerous reasons why the Flipped Classroom is an effective approach. These include:

1.       Efficient use of class time - Lecture content, in the form of videos of manageable length, can be provided outside of the classroom. Shorter videos have the benefit of distilling a given topic, and topics can be broken up into subtopics. As this happens, traditional passive learning takes place outside of the classroom, and class time can be freed up to increase meaningful engagement with the students. Faculty members have more time to interact with students clarify learning point, and additional learning objectives can be incorporated, as can active learning.

2.       Active learning opportunities - When the traditionally passive lecture component is taken out of the classroom, the classroom has the potential to turn into a workshop that incorporates and focuses on active, hands on learning. This approach becomes a core component rather than a supplement to the lecture.

3.       Increased one-on-one opportunities - Class time freed up of lectures allows for increased faculty to student, and student to student interactions. There is also more time for extended classroom discussion and exercises. This allows students to engage with concepts, learning materials, and peers in the classroom. Thus, increased student support is an implicit result of the Flipped Classroom.

4.       Student accountability for learning - Students are charged with coming prepared to class, and as such, their own responsibility and accountability for their own learning is increased. This also allows the student to direct their own learning.

5.       Addressing multiple learning styles - The Flipped Classroom support diversity in student learning, and allows students additional time an access for reviewing materials, if necessary. In addition to the lecture, students may reflect on materials through questions and discussion with the faculty member who functions as a facilitator. They also learn by working with peers to solve problems, and by demonstrating and arguing their own solutions, class experimentation and work.

Additionally, Educause’s “7 Things You Should Know about Flipped Classrooms,” Flipped Classrooms constitute a role change for instructors to a more collaborative or cooperative role in teaching. The flipped model puts more of the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of students while giving them greater impetus to experiment.

In ACRL’s “Keeping up with Flipped Classrooms,” the authors list the following as benefits of the flipped classroom:

  • Due to the nature of course materials that are used in flipped classrooms, which are typically online, the student has greater control over the pace of instruction; they can pause or rewind videos, retake tutorials, and re-listen to podcasts on their own time, taking as long as necessary in order to master the material.
  • Class time is then devoted to application. In the flipped class, the instructor serves as “coach” or “guide,” and can step in to help the students who have trouble grasping material, functioning as a just in time point of need educational system,
  • It places the responsibility for learning on the students.Students can no longer sit silently through a session, because the instructor is no longer serving the traditional role of sage on a stage, and are there instead to support their work through hands on activities, and problem solving through applied knowledge.

Challenges of Flipped Classrooms

Challenges of the Flipped Classroom

The ACRL paper points out that as with any instructional approach, there are inherent challenges involved with flipping a class.These include the following:

  1. As with most things, faculty buy-in is one of the most important factors around a flipped workshop’s success. One of the reasons for this is that faculty members are the ones that persuade or require students to watch the online videos or complete the online activities before the class comes into the library. If the faculty member is not on board, then there is a good chance that the students will be unprepared.
  2. Instructors also must make sure that the students understand the expectations and have access to the necessary technology to succeed within the flipped model.
  3. Additionally, it can be time consuming and tedious to create the instructional videos or materials for a flipped class. ACRL recommends that librarians should first look for existing materials, but often the librarian will need to create supporting materials to accommodate specific aspects of the class that is being supported. Thus,  librarians involved with  flipped classes must budget time to prepare materials to be used outside of class time. In addition to this prep work, the librarian will also have to guide students as they apply knowledge in the classroom, and also must provide feedback during the workshop.

In "Shifting the Instructional Paradigm - Tennessee Library Association," Allen offers additional critiques of the flipped classroom. These include the following:

  1. The flipped classroom still relies on ineffectual lecturing and can isolate ESL learners and students lacking computer access.
  2. It offers no chance for scaffolding or independent problem solving
  3. Students may initially resist new approach, and it is naïve to assume that students will take responsibility for their own learning.
  4. It is not a seamless transition for librarians either, and the switch from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side can be messy and chaotic.

In "The Flipped Classroom: Assessing an Innovative Teaching Model for Effective and Engaging Library Instruction," Arnold-Garza points out some additional challenges to the flipped environment as well, including:

  1. Coordination with faculty member is necessary in order to assign pre-work to a class
  2. Librarians or those producing videos will have to learn new technology
  3. The self-paced nature of flipped classrooms, especially the component carried out outside of the traditional classroom, also poses a potential disadvantage for students who cannot work that way.
  4. There is also a chance that not all students might have equal access to technological resources.

The Flipped Classroom: Overcoming Common Challenges