The Office of Faculty Development

Flipping a STEM Course - (A Low Barrier Approach)

This Teaching guide was designed as a STEM specific add on to a more general teaching guide. Please read through the Teaching Guide “Flipped Classes” first.

As explained in the “Flipped Classes” study guide, the idea behind the flipped classroom is to have your students come to class with some pre-existing knowledge of the topic(s) being discussed so that they can begin to actively work with the material at a deeper level in class. This can be an ideal course design in STEM with our long list of challenging learning objectives and our students' needs for repetitive practice with the material. Instead of introducing a new topic and/or showing an entry level example problem during class, students complete an assignment exposing them to the topic at a basic level prior to coming to class. Class time is then open for diving deeper into the theory and/or gaining more practice with their classmates, student assistants/Supplemental Instruction Leaders, and instructors are available to help answer questions and correct misunderstandings. 

Studies show the success of flipped STEM course designs by increasing course success rates, student engagement and motivation and exam scores, but they also point out the largest barriers for STEM teachers. The largest barriers reported are (1) time available to dedicate to a course redesign and (2) feeling comfortable and confident with making pedagogical changes. Therefore, this teaching guide aims at addressing those two barriers specifically.

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