Faculty Teaching Excellence Program




Brian Argrow, President’s Teaching Scholar and Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences


Inverting or flipping the classroom is an instructional method that emphasizes learning and preparation outside the classroom, typically employing multimedia technologies that include online lectures, videos, screencasts, and interactive websites to expand learning opportunities across the range of student learning styles. Although these tools and their dissemination through the Internet are relatively new, the fundamental idea of inverting the classroom is not. Like other frequently renamed ideas and strategies to improve student learning, the recognition of the effectiveness of learning outside the classroom and of pre-class preparation probably predates written history—or at least the invention of the Internet. What is relatively new is research that documents the efficacy of extra-classroom learning and proactive preparation.


Teaching and learning begin with teacher and student preparation.  The classroom is not the place for teachers to display how much they know—it is the place to learn what students do not know so those things might become known.


Since the mid-1990s the author has been inverting the classroom with this “proactive” teaching and learning philosophy that prepares teachers and learners to optimize precious face time. The proactive philosophy begins with the requirement that reading assignments (yes from that ancient invention, the textbook) be completed before class so that students are prepared to be engaged in an active-learning session. The primary instrument to measure preparation is the unit quiz, a.k.a., the reading quiz, or the concept quiz. Given during the first 8-10 minutes of class, this mix of true-false statements and simple manipulation questions is used to probe for misconceptions, misinterpretations and knowledge gaps. These discoveries are then the focus of a Socratic discussion in which all learners expect to be questioned and articulate clear responses. These responses lead the teacher and learners down a path of discussion that meanders through the first five levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, with the teacher supplementing the discussion with spontaneous mini lectures and demonstrations, and with students also providing demonstrations. Other in-class tools include “the question of the day,” and group exercises.


This hands-on symposium/workshop will engage attendees in an active session to explore the proactive teaching and learning philosophy and to demonstrate the use of some of the primary tools.  We will also discuss how this textbook-based “old school” approach to inverting the classroom might be supplemented or converted to employ contemporary multimedia tools.


The Technology Enhanced Learning Forums are designed and provided for our instructional faculty members. If you plan to participate in a symposium conducted by a presenter whose college is different from your own, please be prepared to adapt the recommended teaching tools to the needs of your own discipline.


Wednesday March 20, 3:00-4:00 pm

This event will be held in ATLAS 200

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