Julia’s plan for flipping Intro to Psychology

Post 1: Ideas and Planning

I am going to be developing materials that will allow me to begin to “flip” my Introduction to Psychology course this Fall. 

One thing I learned from attending the Bryn Mawr conference on blended learning last year and this past week is that it is important to 1. Take things in small chunks, don’t bite off too much at one time and 2. It is very important to look at all of the elements of a course and decide where each one has been, and where each one will go when you flip.  It is also pretty interesting to think of process of flipping the course as involving two dimensions, inside the classroom and out, as well as individualized or group.  Those two dimensions are independent, and should each be given consideration when flipping.

So with those things in mind, I have been making some initial plans.  First, I would like to think about what students and teachers find the most difficult topics to teach in Intro, as well as the ones they think are most important.  I know the publishers of my textbook are also thinking along these lines as they just sent me a survey about which difficult topics I would like to see videos developed for.  What I really want is their list, so that was helpful!  Their videos won’t be done in time for this coming semester.  Their list is based on student data from the computer support program they provide with the text, called “Connect”.  So now I might still go hunting on my listserve for teaching of psychology, to ask my peers at other institutions for their “top ten” most difficult and perhaps also a top ten of most important.  I will also take a peek at the teaching of psychology literature to see if this wheel has already been invented.

Based on that list, I plan to develop mini-lectures to post on Moodle for students to view outside of class.  I am still considering the format for those lectures.  Some well written powerpoints with my voiceover would be my initial hope.  Throw in a video or two, and…  There is a lot of tech between me and that goal!

I learned over the last year that a lot of what I do already would be considered blended learning, getting students to do work outside of class in preparation for work inside of class.  My textbook comes with online support for test review, text review, as well as special interactive activities to support various concepts.  I have been requiring a certain level of the activities to support some brief writing assignments, and I have given extra credit for doing the test preparation quizzes.

 What I would like to try, in a small way, is to lecture less and thereby leave more room for higher quality activities and discussion during class time.  Two pieces, 1. I have to provide the out of class material support to make this workable such that students get the basics before they come to each class.  I say support, but I also really mean incentives, so that will mean I incent them with interesting things (shiny, flashy, moving, feedback sorts of things), as well as with some carrot type points for doing this work. 2. I have to have good in-class activities ready to go.

So for me, flipping will be on a smallish basis, not wholesale abandoning of lecture/talking in class.  And it will also mean doing more work in class, of the kind we always say we want to do but lack time for!

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