Flipping Large Classes: Three Strategies for Engaging Students

By Barbi Honeycutt, PhD
As we continue our ongoing series focused on the flipped classroom in higher education, it’s time to tackle another frequently asked question: “How can I flip a large class?” I like this question because it’s not asking whether you can flip a large class, but rather what’s the best way to do it. Faculty who teach large classes are challenged not only by the sheer number of students but also by the physical space in the classroom. Having 100, 200, or 400+ students in class means teaching in large lecture halls with stadium seating and seats that are bolted to the floor. It’s not exactly the ideal space for collaboration and group discussions, so the types of flipped and active learning strategies you can use are more limited. Often, faculty fall back on the “think, pair, share” format or use clicker questions to encourage student engagement. But there are other techniques we can deploy in these large classrooms to engage students and involve them in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis. To start the conversation, here are three strategies that work well in large lecture halls because they don’t require students to sit in groups or move around the room. Each of these strategies provides a framework for generating discussion, which increases engagement and encourages students to analyze a variety of perspectives. And if you aren’t teaching to the masses, these strategies can be easily modified for any class size.Flipped Strategy #1: Six Thinking Hats “Six Thinking Hats” is an approach to guide and focus students’ thinking, expand their perspectives, and generate creative approaches to solving problems (de Bono, 1999). To implement this strategy, present students with six different colored “hats” to wear as they analyze a situation. The color of the hat reflects the role or perspective you want students to take as they work through the problem: white (data, facts), red (feelings, emotions), yellow (positive view, benefits), black (caution, judgment), green (creativity, new ideas), and blue (summaries, decisions). For large classrooms, you can assign a different colored hat to six different sections in the room. Students within each section can work in pairs or threes to analyze the problem based on the hat they are assigned. This strategy can also be designed as an individual learning activity. Provide worksheets or online tools for students to document their thinking related to the hat they are assigned. Flipped Strategy #2: Paired Jigsaw The “jigsaw” technique can be an effective way to engage students in large classes. Tewksbury (1995) describes, “In this technique, teams of students are assigned to investigate different aspects of the same problem/issue. Once teams have completed their assignments, members of each team are then dispersed among new groups and teach group members from other teams about what they have learned (322).” Depending on how many students you have, it may not be possible to form groups, but you can adapt this strategy and create a “paired” jigsaw. Pick a topic and assign two separate readings as pre-class work. Assign half the class Reading A and the other half of the class Reading B. Then ask students to come prepared to teach the most important points from their article to their partner. If you need more accountability, ask students to prepare a worksheet or outline that highlights for their partner the most important takeaways from their article. During class, ask students to form pairs where one partner has completed Reading A and one partner has completed Reading B. Give students time to teach the main points of their article to their partner. If this is a new activity for your students, you may need to provide more structure to help them organize their ideas as they teach.
For more on the flipped classroom, join Barbi Honeycutt at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference. You won't want to miss Dr. Honeycutt's preconference workshop titled "Don’t Waste a Minute of Class Time: How to Use Focusing Activities in the Flipped Classroom." It's just one of the four preconference workshops slated for this teaching and learning event. Learn More >>
Flipped Strategy #3: Paired Jigsaw + Six Thinking Hats Once you have introduced students to the paired jigsaw and six thinking hats activities, try combining them! Ask students to analyze their reading (Reading A or Reading B) from the perspective of one of the six hats. You can either assign the hat or let them choose which hat they want to wear as they prepare to teach their reading. Then, when they work in pairs, challenge students to see if they can guess which hat their partner is wearing as they analyze the reading. You can also ask students to re-read their article wearing a different colored hat and see if and how their perspectives change. Any of these strategies can then be used to continue conversations or start a class discussion. Without too much modification, and a little upfront planning, these strategies can be used in the large classroom setting to engage students in higher levels of critical thinking and analysis. These activities can also be designed as individual learning experiences if you want to mix things up and take a break from so many paired and small group tasks. Teaching large classes is challenging, even without trying to get students involved. There’s more to manage, more to grade, and more to coordinate. But, by including these types of active learning strategies into your large class, you can create an engaging learning experience that allows students to hear from their peers and engage in critical thinking and analysis. Let’s continue the conversation! What flipped and active learning strategies have you used in your large classes? How do you handle the noise level when students are engaged and talking all at the same time in large classes? Do you have any advice for faculty who are preparing to flip a large class for the first time? Share here

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 References deBono, E. (1999). Six Thinking Hats. MICA Management Resources, Inc. Tewksbury, B. J. (1995). Specific strategies for using the “jigsaw” technique for working in groups in non-lecture based courses. Journal of Geological Education. Vol. 33. pp. 322-326. Available onlinehttp://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/1995.html#v43p323 Barbi Honeycutt is the owner of FLIP It Consulting in Raleigh, N.C. and an adjunct assistant professor at NC State University. She is the author of 101 Ways to FLIPFLIP the First Five Minutes of Class, and co-author of 101 Ways to FLIP Your Online Class. Connect on Twitter@BarbiHoneycutt and on the FLIP It blog.

BMW’s insane car of the future replaces dashboards with augm…

Creativity at its best?
Creativity at its best?
Flipboard
Photo: theverge.com
BMW’s insane car of the future replaces dashboards with augmented reality
From Electric Cars, a Flipboard Magazine by Terenig
theverge.com · BMW is in the midst of celebrating its 100th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, it just rolled out the Vision Next 100 concept at its Munich headquarte...
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Thoughts on “The Future of News: Virtual Reality”

In this May 2015 TED TALK (9:27), de la Pena talks about the evolution of her work to immerse your entire body within the news through a virtual reality headset. Putting Donald Trump aside,surprise notwithstanding, this technology has amazing potential for a deeper learning experience. Have you heard about the Microsoft Halolens technology that is due out in 2016? Halographic computing is coming! From what I have been reading, Halolens is going to easily surpass and learn from the failure of  Google Glass to succeed in the realm of virtual reality.

The difference between AUGMENTED REALITY and VIRTUAL REALITY is the level of immersion with virtual reality having a much deeper level. Both are about including something digital in your viewing space to enhance your experience in ways we never imagined.

Do you AGREE? Skill or Chance? Thoughts on “Gamification and eLearning – Should You be Considering It and Why?”

Do you like games, being challenged, scenario-based learning, and the opportunity to apply knowledge and strategy? I do. I have always preferred games that involve skill over chance. I tend to steer clear from games that involve luck and I've found that I will indulge in games and contests that require cognitive processing, deductive reasoning, critical thinking, and reasoning. For example, I like the challenging Scrabble-esque, Zynga mobile app "Words with Friends" because it requires me to think. Now contrast this type of game with one that involves chance or luck like card games. While an argument could be made that card games like "Solitaire" involve strategy there is still too much chance and, therefore, my ability to control the outcome. While I am "thinking" when I play "Solitaire" the experience is not as satisfying as a game that is based on logic and strategy. Studies have shown that individuals who play games like "Brainfit" can increase and sustain their levels of cognitive prowess. I would like to add a database of that empirical research and explore how I can leverage this approach in my courses. While I have created an "Instructional Design Jeopardy" I want to pursue other resources and actively solicit any suggestions (e.g., links, citations, games, first-person perspectives) on this line of thinking. Here's a link to the article: "Gamification and eLearning – Should You be Considering It and Why? that was published November 17, 2015 on the Crowdsourcing.org website. I have opened the "Comments" option below for thoughtful responses.

National Distance Learning Conference – Nov 9 – 11th

National Distance Learning Week
It's Free!  It's Professional Development!  Augmented Reality + e-Learning: There is NO Kill Switch for the Awesomeness! Here's the link to my presentation: breeze.sc.edu/andy_page_2015ndlw/
(It will be recorded and posted on my website too) Conference Webpage tiny.cc/2015-usca-ndlw-confweb Conference Registrationhttp://tiny.cc/2015-usca-ndlw-register **Webinar Schedulehttp://tiny.cc/2015-usca-ndlw-schedule (Eastern Standard Time Zone)

Grab These Educational Apps They Are Free Today

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Grab These Educational Apps They Are Free Today

educatorstechnology.com - November 7, 2015 Below are two great iPad apps that are on sale today. They are free for a limited period of time at least in the Canadian and American iTunes App Stores. The first app called Clips Video Editor is a simple yet powerful application to use when editing your videos. It allows you to add music, split and/or trim clips, add voice-overs, mix audio and many more. The second app, NOTE’d, is a beautiful notepad application to use for recording ideas and bookmarking memos. It supports voice memos in cases where you can’t type and lets you attach photos and maps to you memos.