RMC Workshop on Flipping the Classroom

flipped_rmc_logoOn September 30, 2015, I’ll be giving a workshop on How to Flip Your Classroom. The time allotted is only an hour-and-a-half, so I thought I’d offload some of the didactics here to the web. This gives us more time to use during the workshop to actually apply the concepts to your projects.

First of all, all my slides are open access and available here for you to view. You can also add comments to it if you’d like (visible to others as well as myself) if you have questions or thoughts.

The handout for the session is available here as a Google Doc or a PDF handout, if you prefer.

This session works best if you bring your own laptop and material (slides, handout, etc) that you would like to flip. Feel free to get a head start. Everything I’m talking about is listed below.

01: What is the Flipped Classroom?

The flipped classroom allows you to take what was normally taught in class (i.e., lecture) and move it to home. You can then take what was normally done at home (i.e., homework) and move it to class. So we’ve inverted these activities. Inverting the content like this allows students to practice, analyze, engage, play and interact with the material under the guidance of an expert (the instructor). In the traditional method, the students’ time with the instructor was spent passively watching a lecture and they were left to struggle with problem sets alone at home.

This workshop will be an example of the flipped classroom (yes, how meta). I’m sharing my lecture online and we’ll (hopefully) be applying the concepts to your class material during the workshop.

02: Writing Objectives for the Flipped Classroom

Writing objectives for the flipped classroom. We can break up the familiar Bloom’s Taxonomy into two groups: lower-order (more passive) objectives and higher-order (more active). This will have design implications further for the didactic experiences we create.

In preparation for the workshop, try your hand at taking one of your own learning objectives and breaking it up into two experiences: one lower-order and one-higher order objective. Feel free to post comments, questions, etc below.

03: Using Multimedia Principles for Slide Design

Academic Medicine is full of bad PowerPoint. This is not a fault of the program, but the fact that most of us have only been exposed to ineffective use of slides. Cognitive Psychologist Richard E. Mayer, out of University of California, created several Multimedia Principles to for e-Learning. He subsequently proved the efficacy of these with (impressive effect sizes) in numerous studies.

My challenge to you before the workshop is to take a few of your slides and redesign them using these principles. If you want to use someone else’s slides to makeover, here are a few from a conference we recently gave.

If you’re interested in the theory behind these principles, here’s a short video.

04: Careful use of images

There are two dangers while using images in online modules: disclosing personal health information (PHI) and violating copyright. Both of these can be circumvented by creating your own images. I make stick figure drawings. However, there are other options available including open source, using PowerPoint’s drawing tools and even editing scalable vector graphics (SVG) images freely available online.

05: Creating videos for at home modules

You can use anything, of course, for your at home modules (readings, problem sets, guided instruction) however the new popular method is to use video. You don’t need to learn a new device or program. Instead use the one with which you are already familiar: your current laptop and PowerPoint.

I’m also making a plug for putting your material in the public domain. You can use a Creative Commons license (so you require attribution) but anyone can access it. This has tremendous implications for promotions. The promotions committee will be amazed when your CV demonstrates your global educational impact!

06: Designing classroom activities

Classroom activities should be designed with three goals in mind:

  1. give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they learned in the videos
  2. make this as genuine an activity as possible. It should mimic what they would do in the real-world, as a physician.
  3. allow students to run the discussion in the section. Let them teach each other, ask questions. Instructors should guide as needed.

Dr. Mazur’s full hour long lecture, Confessions of a Converted Lecturer, is available here. This is a very interesting watch. There is also an abridged 18-minute version here. Here is a short video demonstrating his peer-instruction methods.

Here is a video on problem based learning from Maastricht University.

07. Motivating Students

Student motivation is a complicated topic. First there are both external and internal motivators. We are aiming for the latter, but often use the former. There are several needs students have to fulfill first before achieving internal motivation. The flipped classroom, I believe, addresses all of these. There will of course be students at each end of the spectrum: motivated no matter how bad you are or unmotivated no matter how good you are.

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