Flipping the OTA Classroom

Flipping the OTA Classroom


On Friday, April 22nd, Heather Panczykowski shared her experiences in flipping her OTA classroom as part of CELT’s Faculty Idea Exchange presentation. Below is an interview with Heather on this experience and some suggestions on how other disciplines can also use flipped classroom strategies.

ota classroom
Cori: You decided to flip your class.  What was the name of your class?

Heather: I did it for OTA 1650: Birth to Young Adult

Cori: You started out with creating videos….little mini-lectures.

Heather: Yes, I talked with Stan initially and he said that the first thing you need to remember is to have your videos be short clips, like 5, 6, 7-minute clips. Tops…so you keep the person’s attention. And then you make multiple video clips to get your content across. So I think that was my first marker of kind of knowing what to do.

Cori:  How did you make sure that the student’s watched the videos?

Heather: I kind of had an idea…how am I going to make sure the students watch these videos? Because they could walk in after we flipped the class and if they are not prepared, they can’t work on the project, they won’t understand things, they won’t be able to complete my labs so what I did was embed ‘learning probes’. Learning probes for me was something they had to watch the videos to find. The students didn’t know where they were. They could be anywhere in the clips. So they had to watch them all in their entirety. They also didn’t know the number of them so they had to complete those probes. Sometimes there was a hyperlink in the handout and the video probe told them where to find it. Sometimes, it was an actual image that was a link in the handout. So you can be pretty creative to make sure they learned them. Actually, I didn’t even have to collect them because students were like…don’t you want these?  And I could say, “No, I see you did them…I don’t need to collect them.” But you could, absolutely, collect them for a homework grade, or a quiz if you feel they were not doing what they were supposed to.  Yes, students could cheat and work together but ultimately, they wouldn’t know how to complete the assignment and then they would not be successful. I didn’t have a problem with that with most students.

Cori: You not only incorporated audio and video in the flipped classroom but you also changed your handouts.

Heather: Yes, part of the problem is that I found, from my purview, if I’m not physically there talking to them, ad-libbing, the point I am trying to make may not be coming across.  And you don’t have that much time to do that in the clips. What I did was embed the information in my handouts. Or I’ll embed the video clip in my handout. The students could answer the questions or probes in the handout while I was speaking. They could rewind it, watch it again to reinforce concepts. I guess I took a multipurpose approach because I knew I had to the get the information to them and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do that successful since it is new. So yes, I reworked my handouts, I really recommend the learning probes or someway to quiz them throughout that they don’t know about. To keep it interesting, to keep them motivated to watch them. And Stan’s advice to keep it short. Absolutely, keep it short.  The students comment that since they were short videos they could go back and re-watch them and rewind. If they had 10 minutes between something else, they had enough time to go in and watch videos. So that was great.

Cori: You said that flipping was a lot of work. Was it worth it?

Heather: You know what…it’s a lot of fun actually. Taping yourself is not a lot of fun.  But you learn to laugh at yourself. I haven’t watched them all in their entirety because ..oh Dear.

Cori: You should…they’re great!

Heather: Well, I noticed that when something didn’t pop up, I would stick my tongue out, You know poop number one, clip poop number two.  It is something to adjust to. The TEI staff made it comfortable because they closed the door behind them and you could try it and if you screw up, you delete that one and just start again. And the students give you lots of feedback about the videos. “Oh…I’m sure it was a lot of fun.” After watching the {videos}, they would say “oh we couldn’t see your hands in that one”. So there are a couple of things we had to go back and edit. But otherwise, I think they were quite successful and I can use the videos for at least a couple of years.

Cori: Speaking of student feedback, what do the student’s think of a flipped classroom?

Heather: It’s kind of a dichotomy. They think the traditional way. They think the traditional class as we call it- that homework is homework.  So in a flipped classroom, your lecture becomes homework and your homework becomes your lecture. So you are really reversing the order of things and it takes time for the students to get used to that. I heard from the students that it takes more time, but I’ve had feedback from students. “I really like watching the videos over and over” For students that struggle, flipping is a really good idea. If you are looking at retention in particular, like many colleges are, flipping is a good idea because if you give them a concept outside of class that they can watch you, even if it’s that talking head, they can watch it over and over again. And they will get it.  They won’t have the frustration level, they will have time to connect with you more as a professor when in the classroom. I think the students are going to end up being more successful. I think it is something someone could do a study on retention in high drop-out classes, particularly mathematics. I could see it in Physics, I could see it in Chemistry,  I could see it in Anatomy and Physiology. I could go on and on because I can see the potential for classes where students need that reinforcement to give them more information or walk them through that difficult part that they just can’t get through. So I can see it used in a multitude of ways.  Although students complained a little bit of the amount of time involved, it made them accountable for the work. They would read, what you tell them to read, do the work you told them to do. Flipping a class, if you embed the learning probes, you know if they did or didn’t do it. And if you set it up, you can have them do the homework right in front of you and if they haven’t done the work, there is really a conversation that can occur so they don’t float along. I have had students say “Thank goodness, now I get the chance to ask you questions and you can facilitate the process.” But I hear from them that it is a lot of work. Another class, I didn’t flip they said: “Why didn’t you flip?” So, I get that they are adjusting because they are traditional learners and in the US we use a traditional format of lecture and lab, and we know what that looks like and what homework is and it really is turning that whole thing on its ear and really thinking differently.

Cori: Because you done that…you were able to accomplish a huge project with your students that you weren’t able to do before. Can you tell me a little about that?

Heather: Yes, I had students make actual tool-kits for the pediatric class. The toolkit was comprised of a variety of different activities. We developed hand skills, visual motor development, sensory integration, the list goes on and on of at least 20 activities that facilitate normal activities in children, that are fun, that are age appropriate. I also developed adaptation, on how to do it just so you know it was quite a multifaceted process that they had to come up with. And they actually had to make it at least 10 activities in the toolkit to get an A. So it is really a professional toolkit that they can use it to practice. It is ready to go. And they have the step by steps, they have the links. They have everything they need built into the toolkit itself so they can use it at will. And they are actually using it right now. We have Head Start rotations in my lab so they can see the direct application and how it works. So it had been a lot of fun.

Cori: So…you would do it again?

Heather: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I had some students want me to flip another course. Although students complained about the time element, they are seeing the value of it. So I think it has been a success.

For additional resources on flipping your own classroom

Faculty Idea Exchange – Flipping Your Classroom

Additional Reading

Cori Dunagan

Cori Dunagan

Dr. Cori Dunagan
Cori is the Coordinator for Academic Computing at Jamestown Community College. Cori came to JCC in 2009 with over 15 years of experience in distance education at State University Systems in New York and Pennsylvania. Her responsibilities include faculty training and coordination of both synchronous distance learning technology using video conferencing through both ITV and webinar technology as well as online learning and co-administering the Blackboard Learning Management System. She has B. S. and M.S. degrees in communication, both from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and PhD. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Communications Media and Instructional Technology program where her areas of research include quality online instruction, online student persistence and emerging technologies impact on higher education.

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