What's Your Style?

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It is clear from our posts that there are many ways to flip a chemistry classroom. I'd be very interested to survey the flipping styles of our community.

Here are some questions you could answer:

Have you flipped all of the General Chemistry at your institution or do only certain professors flip?

Do you use videos?
Did you make the videos in house or do you get them externally?
Are the videos lecture-like or topic oriented, short videos (6-10 min)?
Do you require the students to view the videos?
If so, how do you monitor?

Do you use a textbook?
If so, which one?
Why did you pick this textbook?
Do you make daily (weekly, chapter-based) reading assignments?
Do the students have the option of using an electronic textbook?
If so, what percentage use the ebook?

Do you give quizzes?
If so what is the frequency: daily, weekly, pop, after chapters?

In-class activities
What is your typical class size?
What sort of in-class activities do you use?
Do the students work in groups?
Do you grade the activities?
Does everyone in the group get the same grade?
Do you use transponders or cell phone responders (such as Top Hat)?
Do you have TAs or student helpers in the classroom?
If so, what is the ratio of students to (helpers + professors)?
If you use TAs or student helpers, do they receive special training?

Do you use online homework?
If so, what is the frequency of the assignments (daily, weekly, chapter-based, or other)?
What percentage of the final grade is the homework?
If you don't use online homework, describe your homework practices.

Do you do anything else that you consider important to the success of your flip?

If you have not already written a post describing your flip, please consider doing so. Or, you could answer the questions above and send them to me at JohnOsterhout<at>JohnOsterhout<dot>com and I'll consolidate the responses and post the results.

OK, I'll go first.

The style of the classroom is left up to the professors. In the Fall, I'm the only professor flipping. In the Spring, another professor uses my materials and flips as well.

I have not made my own videos. I use the ChemTours in the Smartwork system that we use for online homework. I also look for suitable videos on the internet to supplement the ChemTours or to fill gaps in the ChemTour coverage. I often use Khan Academy videos or random videos from the internet. Sometimes, students suggest a video and I will incorporate it into my worksheets if it is better than the one I have. I do not require video viewing.

Our textbook is Chemistry, Fourth Edition (Fifth edition next year), by Gilbert, Kirss, Foster, and Davies (Norton). Our faculty picked it because the content was acceptable and the price was lower than most of the other textbooks. I make daily reading assignments from the textbook. The students have the option of using an electronic textbook only. About fifty percent of the students have opted to use the ebook only. Unfortunately, most of these have only their cell phones to access the book in class. A few students bring laptops.

I give daily quizzes that count for ten percent of the final grade. I give the students an assignment sheet that includes the day's learning objectives. The quiz comes from the learning objectives. I use the quiz to encourage the students to make at least a minimal effort to engage the material before class.

In-Class Activities
My class size is about 30. I don't have TAs or student helpers so the student to me ratio is about 30 at the beginning of the semester. My students work in groups of four unless I am forced to make groups of three. At the beginning of class, I assign the groups by major and consolidate them as students drop out.

I use worksheets that I have developed myself. These are available to teaching professionals. The worksheets are a series of problems that require the student to practice the learning objectives. The problems are more involved than the quiz problems. If the students finish the worksheet in class and it all the answers are correct, then they can leave. If they do not finish, they have to turn the worksheet in completed at the beginning of the next class. I has to be perfect. I post the keys so at worst the students copy the key onto the worksheet. At best, they engage the material. Some do, because they report mistakes in the key.

I use the SmartWork online system from Norton. I give daily assignments. The assignments cover the assigned reading & learning objectives for the day and one or more questions from the previous day's material. The homework counts for twenty percent of the grade.

My flipped class is designed to put the ideas through their heads several times: the reading, the homework, the quiz, the worksheet, and the follow-up homework.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, Happy Flipping!


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About the Author
John Osterhout received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Rice University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. John was a member of the Rowland Institute for Science in Cambridge Massachusetts for thirteen years before moving to the University of Arizona. Since 2008 John has been Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. John's research interests are in protein folding, Trojan horse inhibitors for HIV and snake venom proteins. He teaches general chemistry and biophysical chemistry. John uses flipped classrooms for both courses.