[Originally published by Scott A. Reid on September 8, 2015]
Last (academic) year, I wrote about our controlled comparison of lecture and flipped courses in our non-majors General Chemistry program, which I called the Flipped Classroom Project at Marquette. Our goal was to test the flipped classroom in a large enrollment first year chemistry course. Our approach pushed lecture content outside of the class using short (13 min on avg.) videos, and one 75 min face-to-face discussion was held each week, led by the instructor and TA. The results show that performance on 5 common exams was statistically similar (p < 0.05) in the two courses across every grade demographic save one – the bottom group of students, as measured either by pretest or by percentile ranking in the prior course. Following this trend, a significant reduction in the DFW (Ds, Fs, withdrawals) % was observed in the flipped course, as compared to the lecture-based course and historical data in the course.
Where do we go from here?
Given our interest in applying the flipped approach to large enrollment, non-majors chemistry courses, we are interested in scaling up the size of the sections. In our pilot, we kept the flipped discussion enrollment at 30/section, to match the discussion size of the control. This spring, we are piloting a scale-up, using a new approach. As shown in the figure below, our laboratory floor features three adjoining labs with space for 24 students each. We plan to offer a 50 minute flipped discussion immediately prior to the lab, to be held in the same room. A teaching assistant in each room will lead discussion, with the professor floating between the 3 rooms. By holding two of these each week, we envision that 144 students can be accommodated with two discussion meetings. Moreover, we anticipate that the timing of discussion and lab affords a greater opportunity for coordination of activities.