A flipped class is the presentation of a critical tipping point in a class, often on video with other reference materials. It is material assigned to the student before it is covered in class, and is then later covered during a regularly scheduled class. The student is assigned to go over the flipped material before the presentation in class to give time to consider what parts they don’t understand, and to generate questions which may not be answered in the normal class presentation.
In a regular class the professor usually goes over the material in class and asks if you have any questions, which you seldom do since you didn’t understand most of what was just said. Too fast, not your native language, napping, texting, answering critical email, came in late, playing Angry Birds, talking to your neighbor about how boring the class is, … the possibilities are endless. But not to worry because you’ll figure it out after you get home, right? If you find time. Which you seldom do. Perhaps the prof will cover it again later. Nope. Then sure enough, a similar problem shows up on an exam and you don’t have a clue how to work it. And even worse, not knowing how to do that caused you to lose more points on the next exam, and again on the final.
A flipped class gives you the opportunity to watch a content rich video on a particularly difficult or important subject before it is covered in class. Usually the material is close to the same as you would (will) get in class. The difference is that you have time to stop, replay, and absorb the material. You get to watch it at a time of your choice, when you aren’t continually falling asleep. What this does is give you time to realize what you really don’t understand, watch it again, compare what is there with what the book has. When the flipped material is then covered in class, if you still don’t understand something you can ask specific questions about it.
So, you may ask, if the material is going to be presented again in class, why should you view the video? It prepares you to learn material which is critical in working a whole host of other things in the course.
How important is the flipped material to your overall grade? Believe me, those videos take all kinds of time to plan and record. If that particular piece of information were not the source of major confusion in previous semesters, the prof would never take the time and effort to put them together. They cover critical subjects that seriously affect your grade throughout the remainder of the course, and often your grades in subsequent courses.
Mr. Jones’ grade in Statics, CVEN 221: B. Would have made an A but couldn’t draw shear and moment diagrams.
Mr. Jones’ grade in Mechanics of Materials, CVEN 305: C. Would have made an A but couldn’t design a beam because he couldn’t get the moment in the beam because he couldn’t draw shear and moment diagrams.
Mr. Jones’ grade in Structural Analysis, CVEN 345: D. Would have made an B but couldn’t determine the reactions on a statically indeterminate structure because he couldn’t draw shear and moment diagrams.
Mr. Jones grade in Steel Design, CVEN 446: F. Would have made a B but couldn’t determine the Lateral Torsional Buckling coefficient because he couldn’t draw shear and moment diagrams.
Mr. Jones’ grade in Folklore Literature and World Culture, ENGL 412: B. (His new major).
I highly recommend that you go over the assigned flipped class materials before we cover them in class. There aren’t that many of them, and they will benefit you greatly.