Data Comparing a Second Semester GOB Course Before and After Flipping

 Doug SchirchDoug Schirch (2014 cCWCS Workshop in Denver, CO) teaches a combined organic and biochemistry course for nursing majors at Goshen College, IN.  Demographic shifts at the college have given the opportunity as well as the challenge of teaching more 1st generation and commuter students.  After nine semesters of teaching the course in the traditional format he “flipped” the course, moving all lecture content to self-recorded videos (using Screencast-O-Matic and a graphics tablet). 


This freed class time for extensive group problem-solving work with checks on student answers and assistance for groups needing help.  Student readiness for problem-solving was checked with quizzes and having students show their notes from the pre-class videos.  The quizzes tested mastery of information communicated beforehand to the students as “essential” for problem solving (e.g. organic functional groups, types of intermolecular attractions, key information about carbohydrate structures).  These quizzes penalized wrong answers with double deductions; this resulted in increased student efforts to learn the content, but, somewhat surprisingly, no student complaints.


The effectiveness of the course changes was evaluated by comparing scores on ACS final exams and student survey responses.  Despite students with lower SAT scores (an average of 1039 in the 7 semesters prior to flipping vs 1007 afterwards) the median scores on the same ACS final exam were higher (64.9 vs 70.4 correct answers of 120 questions, ranked at the 61st vs 70th percentiles).  The percentage of students getting a W, D or F in the course also decreased from 15% to 7%.


Because the flipped system had students watching lecture videos outside of class – a time when many students spent little time doing the homework in a traditional course – the instructor expected that flipping the course would result in students spending more time outside of class doing classwork.  Indeed, the median number of hours students self-reported as having spent outside of class increased from 5.0 hours the year before flipping the course to 8.4 hours in the two years afterwards.  Another perceived benefit of switching to recorded lecture videos would be the option for students to rewatch a video if they needed an explanation again.   After the course, when queried how often they rewatched a video, three-fourths of the students said they did so for at least 10% of the videos, and nearly a fourth said they rewatched 30% or more.


Not only did the flipped format lead to increased student time-on-task and higher exam scores, but students perceived the flipped format as beneficial.  When asked to respond on a Likert scale if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I preferred the switch, having videos of the lectures and doing homework in class,” 77% agreed and only 14% disagreed.  Strong majorities also felt the course improved their study skills (82% agreeing and 5% disagreeing) and rated the course as excellent (80% agreeing and 5% disagreeing)


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