The term "flipped classroom" refers to a method for delivering instruction. A "normal" class is often characterized by content delivery (lecture) during class time, and students practicing at home (homework, exercises, etc). A flipped classroom is upside down: content delivery happens at home – usually via recorded lectures seen in Blackboard – and that frees up classroom time to do other things (role plays, student questions, review, scenarios, groupwork, etc).
Effectively "flipping" the classroom means finding a way to deliver content online. The textbook solves some of the problem, but most classes still benefit from lectures. Or rather, micro-lectures. Due to student attention spans, it's usually better to "chunk" material into 10- or 15-minute segments, each one a separate lecture.
You do not need fancy equipment, or even any expensive software to make this happen. Certainly Camtasia (software that makes a movie of what's on your computer screen, while also recording your voice) is one option, but it costs over $100. The free alternative is to use the native ability of PowerPoint to capture your audio onto the slides, and then use free software to convert your PPT into a movie file that will play within Blackboard. One thing you will need is a microphone (usually webcams have microphones built into them, as do most laptops).
How to Record and Upload your Lecture
- Open an existing PPT presentation.
- Open SLIDESHOW tab.
- Click "record narration." Leave the popup with default settings.
- Click OK to start recording, and simply click to advance the slides as usual. Be cautious that you do not talk while clicking – it may be best to pause for a second before clicking for the next slide, and pause another moment after the next slide loads.
- When done with the lecture, click to SAVE the slide timings.
- Click to "save as" and switch file type to Windows Media (wmv). After the video file is created, upload the file to YouTube and provide a link or embed directly in Canvas. (If using a Mac, there is an option to save-as into a .mov file).
- Upload the movie file to YouTube with the suggested privacy setting of "unlisted."
Note that you don't have to start over each semester, even if your content changes a little bit. To make any changes next semester, return to the original PPT and delete the audio/speaker icon on one individual slide, then follow the steps above to record replacement audio for just this one slide, then click ESC rather than advancing to the next slide. Perform the YouTube steps again to make a new movie.
A second method of capturing a lecture as a movie involves letting the students see what's happening on your computer screen – such as when you want to show how to navigate through a webpage, or how to use Excel to build a chart, and so on. Camtasia is ideal for this, but a free solution is to use a product called Screencast-o-Matic (http://screencast-o-matic.com/). Once it's installed, there is a simple single-click to record your computer screen and your voice. Note that there is a fifteen minute maximum to such movies (this is free software, after all). The file will be saved as .avi, which can be uploaded to YouTube as well. Jing (available for both PC and Mac: www.jingproject.com) is yet another alternative with a 5-minute limit and Flash output.
Activities During the Flipped Class Time
Now that you've flipped the content online, what do you do with the class time? Options include:
- Practice the material / solve problems
- Work through case studies and micro-scenarios
- Create roleplays and simulations for students
- Amplify difficult concepts by providing short "pocket" lectures
- Provide opportunities for practice testing/quizzing
Our list of interactive techniques may provide useful ideas for how to structure activities in a flipped classroom.