my classmate Nikitha’s project for pedagogy class: redesign Purdue’s MATLAB-heavy intro-to-engineering first-year class to use a “flipped” model – view lectures at home, work on homework in class where there’s help available. (Mind you, this doesn’t mean they’ll implement it; she’s a TA, not the prof. Still, it’s cool.)
Flipped teaching is one of the ideas that could help sustain and justify small-group teaching as highly scaleable online learning becomes feasible and productive; MSNBC notes that, “Apparently even the Stanford students preferred watching the classroom lectures as online videos on their own time.” They report that 85-90% of Thrun’s in-person AI class at Stanford AI had stopped attending by the end of the class. Imagine Thrun’s shock: “These are students who pay $30,000 a year to Stanford to see the best and brightest of our professors, and they prefer to see us on video?”
In-class homework is not a new idea: the success of Berkeley’s Math/Science Workshop and UT’s Emerging Scholars Program (which I TA’d back in the days when I taught calculus) was based on providing challenging problems and group study support in class.
Nor is avoiding lecture: It would be interesting to compare the underlying philosophy of flip teaching to St. John’s, where, rather than listening lectures, students discuss the source materials in small groups. It was a wonderful way to learn!