Dec 18 2013

Why 86 Percent of UNC-Chapel Hill Students Prefer the Flipped Classroom

Students spend more time discussing the application of learning content to their careers and less time scribbling notes.

Dr. Russell Mumper, Vice Dean and professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently flipped the classroom for students in his pharmacy class. The results were revealing. Dr. Mumper saw test scores increase by 5 percent, and 91 percent of his students said their learning was enhanced as a result of the flipped classroom; 86 percent preferred the flipped model rather than the sage-on-the-stage format.

For his part, Dr. Mumper recorded 25 lectures, which can now be repurposed for future classes, allowing him to spend more time engaging with his students. EdTech caught up with Dr. Mumper to discuss the experience. Check out his interview and the infographic below to learn more.

EdTech: What motivated you to flip the classroom?

Dr. Mumper: I had been using traditional lectures in my classrooms for more than a decade and thought I was doing a good job, based on student performance and feedback.

But I began to realize that something was missing. When I spent time with students describing my personal research or experiences, I saw how interested and engaged they became in what I was saying. During an occasional think-pair-share activity in class, they would become very active and animated. They weren’t like that during a typical lecture.

I saw how engaged the students were on those occasions and how rewarding it was for me. I decided to implement a new format based on those experiences to maximize student engagement and learning.

EdTech: How did the students respond?

Mumper: Before experiencing the new format, about three out of four students said that they preferred the traditional lecture. By the end of the course, nearly nine out of ten students preferred the flipped format. Students said that they wished more of their courses were taught using the flipped model.

EdTech: Did you run into tech challenges?

Mumper: No, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had four years of experience with lecture capture software and believed it to be a proven and effective method to shift content delivery outside of class. Plus, active-learning strategies in the classroom, such as audience response systems, had already been proven and accepted by our students.

We emphasize from our experience that there are various proven, effective and sustainable methods to off-load content and engage in active learning in the class, and that technology should never be a barrier. Our guiding principle is that technology should aid teaching and not hinder it or just be used for its own sake.

EdTech: What does the future of the flipped classroom look like?

Mumper: I imagine that the flipped classroom will become standard in higher education as more faculty experience the qualitative and quantitative benefits. I do not see that the flipped classroom will replace traditional lectures, but together will become an effective blended-learning strategy to improve student learning.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about Dr. Mumper’s experience with the flipped classroom.

Flipped Classroom


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