The Future of Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

How to Prevent Students Falling Down in a Flipped Classroom

Arif Selcuk Ogrenci, Kadir Has University (Turkey)


In order to serve the educational needs of the Y-generation, universities have witnessed a transformation in the way they teach. A popular concept is the flipped classroom where students digest the major course materials before the actual lecture hours. The lecture hours are used for hands-on practices, discussions, and practical work. The theoretical and practical parts of the learning process have changed their order. We will focus on the disadvantages in this work. We will also offer some remedies for the problems based on empirical evidence.

A major requirement for the flipped classroom to be successful is that students are aware of their responsibilities. Similarly, trust to students is essential. Furthermore, the majority of students (almost 100% in our case) did not experience a similar instruction in their previous education. Hence, it is not an easy task for students to "stand-up in the flipped classroom." In our case, we teach a freshman course, Engineering Guide and Ethics, in a blended way to a group of approximately 150 students for more than 15 years. In the last two years, we have also flipped the classroom based on positive responses from former students to do so. However, the initial observations have caused us to rethink about our strategy: A large group of students (80% in the start of the course, and 40% in the end of the course) did not perform what they had to do! The numbers are based on observations of two metrics: number of students participating in discussions, and grades of quizes and exercises carried out during/after the lectures. Even though the students soon realized that their quiz and exam grades are not satisfactory, we could not convince them to browse course materials before the lecture hours. The major reason seems to be the lack of previous experience, and the lack of motivation. A survey done after the course has supplied valuable results: Students originating from private high schools performed significantly better than students from public high schools where students are compared within groups of their entrance points to the university. (There are mainly three groups of students where all groups have a mixture of graduates from public and private high schools.) The survey revealed the trivial result that students can adopt to the flipped classroom much better if they have previous experience in project work where students are forced to work independently outside of the classroom. We have concluded that students have to be motivated to adopt the flipped classroom as they do not have a cultural affinity for the process. This year, we have included an orientation period for the flipped classroom as a soft transition where the initial lectures have been redesigned for increased student motivation. Results of this approach are promising that student participation has almost doubled with increasing student satisfaction.

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