Effective Implementations of a Partially Flipped Classroom for Large-Enrollment Organic Chemistry Courses: Synopsis


Effective Implementations of a Partially Flipped Classroom for Large-Enrollment Organic Chemistry Courses: Synopsis

First to introduce myself, my name is Matt Casselman, am a relatively new member of the OrganicERs leadership board, and currently teach at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) as an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Chemistry. Here at UCR, I predominantly teach introductory organic chemistry (sophomore year) as well as an upper-division organic laboratory course. My introductory organic classes are on the larger side, with up to 300 students in a single lecture hall. My approach to these classes to keep students engaged using active learning and my research interests are how to effectively design an effective learning environment for students. I recently wrote about my efforts in a recent ACS Symposium Series book, Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Implementation and Analysis. My chapter, Effective Implementations of a Partially Flipped Classroom for Large-Enrollment Organic Chemistry Courses, discussed what approaches I have used, successful and less successful, to engage students in an active flipped classroom with nearly 300 students (I have two sections of this size this fall term!) 

My motivation for writing this chapter was to share my experiences flipping a large class, as many folks find flipping for large numbers of students to be a daunting task. Some common questions that come up with flipping large lectures might be logistical, how can one manage active learning in a classroom of 200-300?; concerns about learning, how can meaningful discussion occur in such a large class?; or providing feedback, how can individual students get feedback on their performance? My approach to flipping has been to leverage technology that supports what I am trying to accomplish as well as using time outside of class to its best advantage. I also flip only concepts that I feel are most amenable to active learning activities, challenging concepts with many student misconceptions that benefit from students discussing and explaining to each other. A modular approach to flipping means I can switch out more traditional lectures for active learning on an as-needed basis. 


Flipping a large class starts with what I have students do prior to attending class itself. Supporting student learning before they even step into the classroom means you can get the most out of active learning time. Online video has the advantage over in-person lectures as students are better able to digest material at their own pace. Of course, the students have to watch a video to benefit from it! Using low-stakes formative assessment online prior to class both ensures compliance while also providing students valuable feedback on their learning.


During the class period, a class of 300 students can feel extremely chaotic the first time you attempt a flip. My approach is to use lecture tutorials to engage students in discussion with the intent to reveal common student misconceptions about topics. Leveraging technology like a classroom response system (PollEverywhere is what I currently use) ensures that students stay on task. I also employ learning assistants (former students) to encourage discussion. These students are trained to facilitate discussion, not simply provide answers or teach heuristics.


After class, students need to stay engaged with the material in order to ensure meaningful and long-lasting conceptual change occurs. Again, leveraging online quizzes ensures students revisit the material and get feedback on their learning.


I continue to develop more and more modules with time and implement them in approximately every third class period. You can find a few of my learning modules posted on OrganicERs.org, complete with online quizzes, lecture tutorial worksheets, clicker questions, and instructor notes; more coming soon as I write them up.    


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