We are coming up to the end of semester here (week 10 of 14), and so I caught up with the unit convener of the Investments unit (where we trialled the flipped classroom model: http://shanenuessler.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/conclusions-from-flipping-investment.html). I wanted to find out what, if anything, students have been saying since week 4 and 5. There is also the need to plan the development of the unit for 2014 where we will (determined in this meeting) flip every week in the semester.
In the weeks since the workshops (which proved to be highly successful) students have commented that:
- The students who did not attend the workshops now say the they wish they had. The workshops were constructively aligned with the unit outcomes, content and assessment, to the point of allowing students to use their own project data rather than generic data (week 4). The assessment item associated with the workshops is due Monday Week 11 (next week), and the students who did not engage now wish they had. The students who did attend the workshops tell them that the workshop helped with the assignment and that they should have attended.
- Students who tried to catch up on the topics are trying to use material found on youtube but find that these videos are generally inadequate for understanding the topics because they lack the full context of the concepts/topics that Lixian provides.
- In reference to putting content (e.g. lecturers) online students said they would not necessarily refer to that material. Good alignment practice says we need to link that content to the outcomes, activities and assessment anyway, so students will have a reason to access it due to good curriculum design.
- Students felt more able to approach Lixian and discuss learning issues etc in the weeks after the week 4/5 workshops. This may be a result of the mentor role Lixian assumed in the workshops early on in the semester.
In terms of other observations Lixian noted the following:
- Mid term exam results show that, compared to the 2012 cohort, the mid-term exam failure rate moved from 38% (2012) to 18% (2013). The characteristics and make up of the two cohorts were similar, and the changes to the exam consisted of changes to questions but the topics, weighting, format, mode etc remained the same.
- 2012: 61 students
- 2013: 101 students
- (Clearly a comprehensive longitudinal study would need to be conducted to discover the relationship and extent to which the flipped workshops had an effect on the exam results and other aspects of student behaviour observed in this pilot. What is notable is that the difference in behaviour and performance between cohorts of similar characteristics given this one major change to the curriculum design.)