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Despite the growing popularity of the flipped classroom approach, many teachers are concerned about students not watching online videos before class. Dr. Lily Zeng addressed this common concern in a seminar on 8 March 2016.

Major challenges in flipping

Over 70% of seminar participants had not flipped a class before, but were considering to do so. They anticipated the following challenges in flipping:

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Student preparation was an obvious concern. Related items include “lecture video not watched”, “students not equipped”, “unprepared students”, “preparedness”, “preparation” and “student commitment”.

What should teachers do?

To overcome this challenge, Dr. Zeng recommended that teachers ensure the alignment of pre-class, in-class and after-class activities. In designing a course, they should always keep in mind the intended learning outcomes and make sure that concepts covered in the short videos are related to the in-class activities and assessments. This will create a backwash effect and push students to get prepared for class, or else they will not be able to participate in in-class activities where everyone else is engaged.

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When asking students to watch videos before class, consider giving:

  1. extra credits as incentives for those who watch the videos and complete knowledge check questions before class;
  2. clear expectations, i.e., explain to them why they should watch the videos; and
  3. guidance about what to take note of in the videos, such as a short “curator’s message”, some highlights and key questions to think about while watching.

It can be frustrating to know that some students did not do preparations for class. However, we can make use of this opportunity to teach students the importance of doing preparations as a “pre-requisite” of a deep learning experience.

Further reading

  1. Conquering the 4Cs: Creating Engaging In-class Activities