THE RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM: OFFERING SCAFFOLDING JOINT CLASSES TO PREPARE FOR FLIPPED WORKGROUPS
University of Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Five years ago we decided to make a move from a teaching-centered approach to a more activating, learner-centered one by flipping the classroom in our bachelor course philosophy of science in the interdisciplinary program Future Planet Studies. We experimented with various blended set-ups.
In our first design, which could be viewed as a half-hearted flipped classroom, we tried to actively involve students in the introduction into core concepts of the course in general class meetings on campus (n = 130 max). These classes were non-mandatory and recorded. Students could watch the recordings at all times and/or could additionally watch online knowledge clips that illuminate the core concepts. These core concepts were subsequently further elaborated in small-scale workgroups (n = 20 max), in interaction with the students. To enable teachers to do that, students had to make a preparatory assignment for each workgroup. It turned out that it was very difficult to activate students in the general class meetings, and that attendance was low. Students’ evaluation of the general class meetings was equally low. Over and against that, their evaluation of the workgroups was very high.
The second design, the double flipped classroom, followed the same design, but now we asked students to also make a preparatory assignment for each general class meeting. This resulted in even lower attendance, as students did not appreciate the extra burden and were too apprehensive to speak up in the large-scale class meetings.
Therefore, in the third design, we decided to leave out the general class meetings altogether and solely offer online knowledge clips to help students grasp the core concepts and prepare for the workgroup. We labeled this the fully flipped classroom, as in this design we completely relied on students’ (willingness and capacity for) self-study to prepare for the interactive workgroups. While students’ overall evaluation of the course remained the same and their evaluation of the workgroups remained unequivocally high, this design was not satisfactory either, as it put too much pressure on the workgroup teachers. They felt obliged to give mini-lectures each time students had not developed sufficient prior comprehension to be able to start an interactive workgroup, which happened frequently if not all the time.
So in our fourth trial, we reintroduced a weekly class meeting aimed at scaffolding students’ self-study. In these so-called joint classes, students were actively invited to jointly investigate core concepts and to do some exercises that helped prepare them for the workgroup. The central aim of the joint classes is to create enthusiasm for and engagement in the course, to lower the barriers for students to start reading the compulsory literature and make the preparatory assignments (i.e. preventing procrastination), and to increase their motivation and self-directed learning. With this new set-up we hoped to enhance a more active attitude amongst students, and to consequently lower the burden for the workgroup teachers.
In my contribution, I would like to present the results of our design research, particularly those relating to our last design, including the conclusions we drew and the decisions we took to improve the design.
Keywords: Flipped classroom, design research, blended learning, scaffolding.