Flipped Classroom

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 Canvas – and that frees up classroom time to do other things (role plays, student questions, review, scenarios, group work, etc).

Effectively "flipping" the classroom means finding a way to deliver content online. The textbook solves some of the problems, 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 Canvas. 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

  1. Open an existing PPT presentation.
  2. Open the SLIDESHOW tab.
  3. Click "record slide show." A popup will come; leave the default setting for starting with the first slide. If asked about "linking" to your narration/audio files, do not choose to "link" the audio. We want the audio embedded within the PowerPoint.
  4. Click "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.
  5. When done with the lecture, you may be asked if you want to SAVE the slide timings (if so, click yes).
  6. Click to "save as" and switch file type to MPEG (mp4). After the video file is created, upload the file to YouTube (suggested privacy setting of "unlisted") and provide a link to embed directly in Canvas. (If using a Mac, there is an option to save-as into a .mov file).

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.

Another Option: screencasting

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 ( 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: is yet another alternative with a 5-minute limit and Flash output. Mac users can also record the screen using Quicktime. Screencasting on a smartphone or tablet might be done using apps like "Techsmith Capture" or "Record It!"

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 role-plays 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.


This handout reproduces the steps to record and upload lectures, and this bibliography provides ideas for further reading.


The official USF policy on captions requires that instructional materials are provided with accommodations, upon request, without additional delay. It is therefore advisable to consider creating captions for videos before any accommodation request is made.

Perhaps the best option is to create captions directly on YouTube. YouTube creates an automatic transcript, though it is only about 70% accurate. However, the transcript is useful as the starting point, and you can edit it directly on the webpage. This tutorial explains how to edit captions to YouTube. You may also download the captions.sbv file, edit it in Notepad while listening to the video, and re-upload. Expect to spend about 1.5 times the length of the video in editing the captions.

Another option is to load the completed video in Camtasia-8 (earlier versions lack the needed functionality) and allow the software to create captions automatically, which are easy to adjust as text (you can use this software for free at the library's Digital Media Commons). 

If you would like to create captions "on the fly" as you record, the free software Windows Speech Recognition comes with Windows (just search for "speech" to find it). You can train this software to recognize your voice. It can be turned on and they will treat your words as dictation, so you'll need to click into a Microsoft Word (or Notepad) file as the active window. Because it's not possible to have Word be the active window at the same time as PowerPoint, the dictation and speech-to-text activity are best done on a laptop near to the primary computer doing the PowerPoint or screencast recording--in other words, you'll need to use two computers at the same time.

For questions, contact Students with Disabilities Services.

Tips for Students

This handout for students contains tips for studying online and may help them succeed in a flipped class.

Best Practices from YouTube

The following YouTube videos contain some valuable, practical wisdom related to a flipped classroom: