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A #flipclass model informed by theory and practice

The following model is a mix of theory and experience obtained during a short pilot of the flipped model.

Design based on 2013 Business Government & Law Flipped Classroom Pilot at the University of Canberra.

Table 1: Principles followed

Independent learning, group or individual (pre workshop)

Workshop on campus

Principles applied to this study mode include:
  • Activities and content are aligned with learning outcomes and assessment.
  • Students cover content and concepts required for the workshop individually or collaboratively ahead of workshop. This may be a mix of online content and activities as well as engaging with objects/people/content in other real-world locations.
  • Students write down questions they have about the content/experience/etc and bring along, or submit online in advance, for discussion/help in a workshop.
  • Students take extra modules to develop underpinning skills (E.g. language, technology skills, etc) AKA the online bolt-on learning modules that students can be directed to.
  • Assessment could be used to focus students attention on core skills/knowledge/concepts prior to the workshop, or to make sure they have engaged prior to the workshop.
  • Engagement in forums and collaborative platforms extends social learning opportunities beyond the face-to-face contact time.
  • Content is linked to real-world context.
  • All independent learning is designed to engage students, promoting ownership of their own learning.

Principles applied to this study mode include:
  • Activities and content are aligned with learning outcomes and assessment.
  • Deep learning and skills development: activities are designed to help students achieve the unit learning objectives, and develop deep learning. Students are actively engaged in tasks that require application and integration of knowledge and skills.
  • Social learning: Peers engage with each other to problem solve, argue a point, provide peer feedback and instruction, etc. Tasks require students to be self-directed, tackling challenges and problems together.
  • Content is linked to real-world context.
  • Students take responsibility, investing in their own learning.
  • Teaching staff' are modeling skills and behavior, checking student progress and outcomes, modeling/verbalizing how experts reason and problem solve, providing a cognitive apprenticeship.
  • Evaluation: continually evaluate the design and impact of the new approach, this will provide the needed information to improve your workshops, etc, each week.
  • Ask students to reflect on and evaluate their own engagement and experience of the flipped model, this will help them to identify aspects of engagement they need to work on.

Further Information:

Active Learning
Flipped Classrooms
Cognitive Apprenticeships
Peer Instruction
Overcoming Misconceptions
Threshold Concepts (and here)
Core Concepts (versus threshold concepts)

Table 2: Translation from traditional Lecture/Tutorial model to flipped model 

Lecture/Tutorial Model
Changes to
Technology enabled Flipped Model
Staff use of Lecture Time
Extra Workshops and/or Digital Lecture Prep-time
Staff use of Tutorial Time
Workshop time
Student use of Lecture Time
Independent learning time
Student use of Tutorial Time
Workshop time

Table 3: Example weekly schedule for a 2014 Flipped Unit 


Independent learning: Pre-workshop Content (Readings, Videos, etc) and Engagement Strategies (activities/assessment)

Engaged learning in workshop

Major Assessments


Prerequisite Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation

One-minute paper
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Prerequisites workshop
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 1 workshop
One-minute paper
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 2 workshop
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 3 workshop
One-minute paper
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 4 workshop
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 5 workshop

Mid Semester Break
Exam Student Feedback on Teaching Survey
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 6 workshop
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 7 workshop
One-minute paper
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 8 workshop
Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation Topic 9 workshop
One-minute paper
 Content Activities, Assessment, Socialisation  Topic 10 workshop
Exam Week

Final exam

Design Elements and Rational

Design the learning experience in such a way that makes sense to students, and communicate the approaches you are using clearly. This is a different approach to what students are used to.

Take into account the context of the flipped classroom design. Design in a way that supports the overall goals of the course. Activities and content are aligned with assessment, this increases the VALUE PROPOSITION for students to engage in before workshop, during workshop and after workshop activities.

The lecturer role will transition to that of a facilitator of learning. It can be highly beneficial when getting started to co-teach with a colleague who can provide feedback on what is working or not.

As with the lecture/tutorial model, the online activities and workshops are offset with enough time for the student to engage with each topics' content and attempt the quiz prior to attending the workshop. For the flipped classroom model to work it is very important that students engage with the topic before coming to the workshop so that a) they come having identified where they need help so they can be mentored in these areas and/or b) so that they have the required knowledge and skills to engage in the pre-planned activities.

The example above incorporates quizzes both as an engagement strategy and  a formal approach to assessment for learning, where students are able to gauge their progress against the learning goals. This approach helps both students and staff detect and diagnose learning issues as the semester progresses, allowing action to be taken to rectify individual learning issues and/or adjust the curriculum design. Each week each when a new topic starts the associated quiz is opened. Quizzes are closed prior to the workshop for that topic. This is just one possible approach to engaging students and evaluating/assisting their learning.


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