The 'flipped' classroom is attracting a lot of interest. Its being tried out in many different courses and a many different levels. This builds up a useful resource and examples of practice.

One way to approach this is to shift the (mainly) non-interactive (lecture) stuff onto the web, for viewing and digesting outside the classroom, and to keep the live classroom for interaction, feedback, ideas, discussion, activities, etc.

In principle, that's fine. In practice that approach is a little bit rough, although it can be a good way to get started, and to sort the 'input' stuff from the 'interactive' stuff. But there are more nuanced ways of going about it, which the 'flipped' community is already exploring and developing.

Learning for Engineering 1.png
from: Flexible Learning for Engineers


Some time ago we developed a slightly more structured version of flipping, in which we took an activity-based and interaction-based online course, in computing, and used it in the equivalent residential course. So the 'outside' class activities could be used just for 'input', but equally they could also be used for interaction. The 'inside' class activities were framed by what had happened 'outside' - the agenda for the class sessions was, literally, set by the students who had engaged with the 'outside/online' materials and activities.

This research article outlines how it was done, and explores some of the teaching and learning issues and affordances that this 'proto-flipped' model developed ...


Flexible Learning for Engineering
Chapter XX (in IEEE, Innovations and Research in Engineering Education special edition, Spring, 2007.
Roy Williams, Flexible Learning Studio, Faculty of Technology, University of Portsmouth, PO1 3HF,
Email: roy.williams@port.ac.uk


The University of Portsmouth has provided successful B.Sc. (Hons) courses in Engineering for many years. Recently we have started to develop more flexible learning opportunities for our students. The first phase was to develop a learning design and architecture for online learning, and apply it to courses in Computing and Mathematics. The second phase was to develop an online third year top up courses, for students who would already have the equivalent of the first two years of the B.Sc. Eng (Hons.). course, and would like to convert this to a full Honours. Degree, but who might not be able to study on campus, full-time or part-time.

This has now been completed, and it is being offered to a small number of students in the Fall Semester of 2006. It should provide the foundation on which we can build a truly flexible range of courses, including on-campus, online, and various full-time and part-time ‘blends’. Some of the resources from the on-campus courses have been used in the development of the online courses. It is now be possible to take that process full circle, and start to use the online resources for on-campus courses as well. That process has begun, and there are some interesting developments to report.
Introduction
The Technology Extended Campus (TEX) at the University of Portsmouth provided online courses in Computing for some years, mainly for international students. These include a top-up to B.Sc. (Hons) course, as well as Masters Courses. Two years ago it was decided to extend the top-up to B.Sc. (Hons.) courses in Mechanical and in Electronic Engineering to national and international students, who already had qualifications such as the Higher National Diploma, which are equivalent to the first two years of the Hons. Degree, but who might not be able to complete their third year of study on-campus because of other commitments at work.

At about this time TEX was re-evaluating its successful online courses, with a view to improving the pedagogy and delivery. An implicit quality assurance framework was used, which was based on the successful practices in online learning and learning-at-work programmes over the years. This implicit quality framework has since then been made explicit, and has been used to benchmark the courses in TEX, for instance in the Departmental Review processes in mid 2006. TEX has recently been disbanded; the administrative work has been passed back to individual Departments, and the design and development work is being continued in the Flexible Learning Studio.

Full document available as pdf, here: