Flipping lectures

‘Flipping’ lectures

Most psychology students hate statistics. For some it’s a necessary evil, for a few it can feel like an insurmountable hurdle. A lot of technical knowledge is required, which can make lectures seem dense, dry, and overwhelming.

I’ve been looking for ways to make statistics teaching more effective, and this led to the lecture flipping project. The aim was to increase student engagement, and improve student learning. I put together a series of short videos, covering the core material (for students to watch in their own time), and then used the lecture slot for more interactive teaching. I’ve been working with interactive quizzes, which gets the students involved, and allows me to check their understanding each week (rather than right at the end in exams, when it can be too late). I can recommend http://www.socrative.com for quizzes, it’s very simple and very effective.

This project has been a definite success, and something to build on. I got a very positive response to the videos, students found this approach made the material more accessible. It means that they can go at their own pace, and go back when they need to.

The interactive quizzes were also popular. One student told me they preferred it because “it was much more engaging and it enabled us to actually test our knowledge; not just sit there gawping at a screen”.

We want students to be able to apply their knowledge. This approach allowed them to do this every week, rather than simply sitting passively and (maybe) taking notes.

Top tips:

  • Keep videos short – 10 minutes is about right
  • Keep the focus clear – just one or two key points
  • Try to make them visually interesting (colours, images)
  • A supporting handout is useful
  • Give yourself plenty of time – recording and editing takes longer than you think!
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