Beyond the Flipped Classroom at Marquette

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[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.

About the Author
Kevin Revell received his bachelor's degree from the University of New Orleans in 1995, then his Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State in 2000. After several very formative years working in the pharmaceutical industry, he decided to go into education, and from 2002-2006 he taught chemistry at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. Following completion of his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in 2006, Kevin joined the faculty at Murray State University in Murray, KY. Kevin's research interests include organic synthesis and functional organic materials. He loves to teach, and is increasingly interested in science education in flipped and online class settings. He and his wife Jennifer have 3 kids, and they stay busy between family, church, school, and playing basketball in the driveway.