by David J. Marcey, Fletcher Jones Professor of Developmental Biology, Biology Department, California Lutheran University
Keywords: flipped classes; flipped classroom; active learning; online lectures; cinematic lectures; blended learning; blended teaching; flipped pedagogy; hybrid learning; hybrid courses
Two sections of an undergraduate introductory biology lecture course were run in parallel as a pedagogical experiment. One section (32 students) was taught in a long-established, traditional manner, with lectures delivered during class, readings assigned in a textbook, and access to lecture graphics/slides provided via the online syllabus. The other, “flipped” section (16 students) lacked both required reading assignments and in-class lectures. Instead, students were assigned online cinematic lectures (cinelectures) for viewing outside of class. These cinelectures, delivered via YouTube, incorporate multimedia elements. In class, students were broken into small groups and engaged in active learning assignments. Accounting for all sources of content, the subject material covered was the same for both sections and assessments of learning were identical quizzes and examinations. Statistically significant differences in learning were observed during the first third of the semester, with the flipped-class students performing better on all tests and quizzes. These differences disappeared during the second two thirds of the semester, coincident with a large increase in the number of views of cinelectures recorded on the course YouTube channel. Survey of the traditional class revealed that approximately 3/4 of the students had learned of the cinelectures at this time and had added viewing of these to their study, providing an internal, if initially unintended, control sample to the experiment. These results, along with other, subsequent applications of the flipped model I term CLICing, provide evidence that supports the conversion of traditional biology lecture classes to an inverted format.