Flipped Classroom Teaching: Dealing with the unprepared student

What do you mean when you say you want your students to come prepared for the next session?

I remember being a first year undergraduate and asked to come ‘prepared’ to discuss at the next seminar the publication ‘Sociology, Education and Schools (1986)’ by Robert G. Burgess. I did not know that he would become the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester, but more importantly I did not know what they meant by ‘prepared’ to discuss - discuss what?

Was I meant to read the whole book? What was I being asked to consider as I read the book? I decided to skim read parts, hide myself amongst the group and hope for the best.

The same is true with using a lecture capture recording for flipped classroom teaching - do you expect your students to watch and hour long recording before class, or specific elements? What would you like them to be thinking about as they watch the materials? How will the information be used in the face-to-face session?

Instead of sending links to recordings or making them available in the VLE and asking your students to watch a recording before the next face-to-face session, you need to consider why you want them to do this. What is the purpose of this activity?

In Barbi Honeycutt’s work she describes FLIP as:

Focus on your Learners by Involving them in the Process
Barbi Honeycutt - FLIP Consulting and an adjunct assistant professor at NC State University


We need to think about our students if we are going to help them to feel prepared, and engage in a flipped classroom approach.

You need to speak to your students about why the flipped classroom approach enhances their learning and that they are accountable for their learning - you are working in partnership. Your students need to understand why you are moving from being a ‘sage on the stage’ to a ‘guide on the side’. You are not short changing them by no longer standing at the front disseminating content; you are now able to provide them with far more contextualised support and individual time and enabling their transition to independent learning.

Although this video is aimed at school teachers the tips and techniques they outline for overcoming some of the hurdles of flipped classroom teaching apply.

Barbi Honeycutt considers what her students require for the flipped classroom approach to be effective by asking the following questions,

‘Do they need to answer questions before, during, and after the video? As they watch the video, should they pause it at key points and complete a task before proceeding? Do they need to fill in a worksheet, draw a process, or solve a problem shown in the video? Is it clear how the information in the video will help them succeed when they are in class?’

She suggests several activities that can be used alongside the recording to hold students accountable for their learning.

  1. Ticket to enter: If you asked students to complete a task as part of their pre-class work, make sure it’s something they can bring with them and use as a “ticket” to enter class that day. For example, ask students to write three questions they have from the video or reading, including the time stamps or page numbers that correspond with their questions. As they enter the classroom, ask them to hand in their ticket to enter class. Bonus: After you collect all the tickets, you can use them as part of a small group activity, to review for a test, or to start a class discussion.
  2. Choose a side: This strategy works best if your pre-class work involves two points of view, an argument, or opposing interpretations of a topic related to the course material. In the pre-class work, send them a question or comment they need to be prepared to take a stance on. For example, suppose your pre-class reading or video showcases two researchers presenting different sides of a case involving stem cell research. On one wall of your classroom, post a sign with the name of one of the researchers. Then post the name of the other researcher on the other wall. As students enter class, ask them to write their name on a sticky note and post their note on the wall with the name of the researcher they believe had the best argument. Bonus: This is can be a strategy for taking attendance too.
  3. Pass-the-problem cheat sheet: If you have several problems, cases, or scenarios you want students to solve or analyse, try the Pass the Problem flipped strategy in class. To prepare for this activity, ask students to come to class with a one-page “cheat sheet,” which will be the only resource they can use to solve the problem. I’ve seen this strategy used during final exams, often in courses requiring high levels of memorization. Using the cheat sheet in this way, however, allows students to collaborate and develop sheets as a group rather than as individuals. They will be held accountable both as a team member and as an individual. This activity could be combined with the “ticket to enter” strategy as well.’



Honeycutt, B. 2016. Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work. PhD Faculty Focus. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/blended-flipped-learning/ready-to-flip-three-ways-to-hold-students-accountable-for-pre-class-work.

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