Professor Rick Glofcheski from the Faculty of Law is undoubtedly one of the pioneers in HKU when it comes to flipped classroom learning. Having “flipped” a compulsory tort law class with over 260 students in this semester, Professor Glofcheski shared many exciting insights with over 120 participants on November, 26th 2015.
At this joint seminar by the TELI, EPSU and CETL, Professor Glofcheski presented his experience of “shrinking the classroom to create a more personal, meaningful, inquiry-based, active learning environment” for students. He saw flipped learning as something relatively new in higher education – offering a shift in learning for students from passive to active, content-centred to inquiry-based, instructional to learning paradigm and “teacher-dependent” to independent, through using and taking advantage of technology.
How learning happens, its purpose and how class time can be spent productively were questions Professor Glofcheski thought about. He believed online lectures in replacement of the traditional ones might be a solution as students can pace through at their ease. However, potential resistance of such flipped learning from students, colleagues and the institute needs to be considered, and difficulties in implementation such as finding a suitable venue were encountered. Due to these limits, this semester’s class was still a partial flipped learning. Professor Glofcheski found it suitable to resolve possible problems step by step to prepare for future full implementation.
Professor Glofcheski further elaborated that the key emphasis of this flipped experience was having students understand that the lesson is their learning opportunity. They should “take it seriously, come to class prepared to apply [their] learning and solv[e] the problems.” Students were asked to do assigned readings and watch video lectures before class. The short length of lectures (3-4 minutes) was well accepted by students, and Professor Glofcheski plans to incorporate problem-solving questions in future video lectures. It is crucial to align learning content with the assessments so students’ interest to participate can be aroused.
Various clips of the actual “flipping” in action this semester were shown in the seminar. (Read more about the flipping in action here.) The post-class survey results shows that while certain students may prefer the traditional teaching method, 94% found the experience useful/very useful. Students found “flipping” enhanced their ability in applying and consolidating understandings of tort law concepts through learning from peers.
Professor Glofcheski ended the seminar offering possible next steps for flipped learning in his course, such as embedding problem-solving scenarios in videos. This kind of new experience will be expanded and continued in the following semester.