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Flipped Course Design: Increase Learning by Harnessing Technology

Flipped Course Design Handout  (pdf)
To accompany this workshop

Bio of Ike Shibley

A flipped classroom utilizes technology to introduce students to information before they arrive in a face-to-face classroom. Although the notion of having students complete reading prior to class has existed for millennia, the flipped classroom design provides a more structured approach to help students grapple with content information on their own time prior to meeting face-to-face.

The flipped approach requires a teaching philosophy that views knowledge as actively constructed by the learner: in a flipped design the delivery model of education—where the teacher tells students how to think—will not suffice. The delivery model rests on a supposition that knowledge can be transferred from the teacher to the student.

In a flipped approach, the pre-class work helps prepare student to arrive at face-to-face (F2F) sessions armed with enough knowledge to work at higher cognitive levels such as application, analysis, and synthesis. The cognitive F2F activities should actively engage students so they can construct meaning about the content. Flipping the classroom, therefore, requires inversion of the traditional lecture-based model where students hear a lecture and then do work on their own away from the classroom. The time when a student most needs the teacher is when he or she begins using knowledge to help address questions related to the course content. In a flipped design, the teacher provides just-in-time attention in the classroom when the student might be the most in need of such attention.

A flipped classroom can be done with any course, and the flipped format aligns with what is known about the neurobiology of learning. This full-day workshop will examine technology that facilitates the flip, explore the types of active learning possible in the newly liberated face-to-face time, and put the flipped model in the context with what is known about how learning works in the brain. Participants should bring a syllabus from a course they are considering flipping, because several activities will center on each participant’s specific course. The event will be a workshop, so participants should be prepared to be actively involved. 

Bio: Ike Shibley

Ike Shibley is associate professor of chemistry at Penn State Berks, a small four-year college within the Penn State system. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from East Carolina University. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he spent four years in the Navy where he taught nuclear physics and radiation safety. He now teaches introductory chemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, philosophy of science courses, first-year bioethics seminar, and senior science seminar. He has won both local and universitywide awards for his teaching.

Ike has been teaching flipped courses for almost a decade. He teaches Web-enhanced, blended (or hybrid), and fully online courses. His most recent scholarship involves pedagogical approaches to improving science instruction in college courses. As part of a team of six professionals, Ike helped redesign a general chemistry course over 18 months. The course has now been delivered in a flipped format for six years with an average GPA almost 25 percent higher than previous years.

Ike also redesigned a nutrition course that was taught in a blended format that met only half the number of hours of a traditional course with comparable grades. Most recently, he has designed a fully online, one-semester organic chemistry course and a Web-enhanced, face-to-face organic chemistry course. He is currently leading a team to create a fully online Biology I course for science majors, and he has created two flipped 400-level biology courses. 

  • Center for Teaching Excellence
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