How do I get started?

You may be already using the flipped classroom model if you:

  • ask your students to study key content before coming to class,
  • use class time to further explore concepts in a collaborative environment,
  • design activities (online or face-to-face) that encourage higher order thinking

Some lecturers choose to use the entire traditional lecture and tutorial time to apply active learning or engagement techniques and others use only a portion. It is feasible to have a partial flip, especially with limited resources, but a full course or curriculum redesign will take months of planning. The following are some suggestions to get started:


Staff support

There are a number of options for support for the Flipped Classroom

Staff development workshops

TEDI and ITS provide Flipped classroom workshops through the UQ Staff Development site. This workshop will provide an introduction to the concept of the Flipped Classroom and aims to provide a foundation for planning a flipped classroom.

Flipped Classroom Learning Design groups

In 2014, TEDI will again run Flipped Classroom Learning Design groups aimed at those who have completed a Flipped Classroom course and who are interested in discussing ideas further with collegues and learning designers. The 2014 groups will be run from mid-March. If you are interested, please register here. If you have any questions, please email Ms Anthea Leggett:a[dot]leggett1.

Flipped classroom for program level

TEDI also provide focussed support for the flipped classsroom at a program level for curriculum design. If you are interested please contact the manager of the TEL group, Dr Trish Andrews: tedtech[dot].


Start small

Unless you have a lot of time to plan and some support, don't try large changes to your course.

  • Consider a small design change such as asking students to read before the lecture then using some of the lecture time for class discussion. For example you might introduce concept tests to the lecture and expect students to read and prepare before class.
  • Concept tests (or ConcepTests) were developed by Harvard Physics professor, Eric Mazur, to gauge students' progressive understanding of key concepts throughout the lecture. Part of a peer instruction strategy, concept tests have been popular in the STEM disciplines but are also gaining traction in the humantities (see Peer Instruction in the Humanities Project). You can use the quiz tool in Blackboard to check that students have grasped key concepts after they have been exposed to key content. Quizzes provide immediate feedback and can direct students to revision points. Similarly, using polling tools such as Clickers or UQ Poll provide immediate feedback, are anonymous and help students learn from peers. Quiz and polling tools can also assist you to adapt your teaching and revise areas that students find difficult.
  • Work with colleagues where possible to share ideas and resources so you aren't doing all the hard work alone. You can also learn from colleagues' experiences through the UQ the Case studies section.
  • Search for existing content that can enhance your lecture. There is a wealth of resources that are free for you to use such as Open Education Resources, Khan Academy, and the UQ Library. For more information, see the Existing Collections section of the Video for teaching and Learning site.
  • If you choose to pre-record lecture material there are a number of desktop recording systems available. This is an initial time investment, however once recordings are created they can be used for future iterations of your course. It is recommended that you divide recorded lecture material into 5-7 minute topic areas so key content is readily accessible to students. This will also make it easier for you to locate and edit your lectures when needed. For more information on options for creating videos, see the 'Top ten uses' section of the Video for teaching and Learning site.

Designing activities

As the flipped classroom is part of a blended learning strategy, learning activities can be online or face-to-face. As most lecture spaces are tiered, consider activities (Paulson & Faust) that are suitable for that space, such as 'think, pair share' to allow students to discuss a topic and then answer key questions through polling tools. An example of an online activity is to post a picture, diagram, video or reading on Blackboard that incites interest or debate, then ask students to comment using communication tools such as the journal/ blog tool or discussion board. Further tips are as follows:

  • Design activities to reinforce learning objectives that require students to use higher order thinking skills such as evaluation, synthesis and analysis. These are on the upper end of Blooms taxonomy--a common model used for classifying learning objectives. The diagram of Bloom's rose demonstrates types of learning objectives with descriptions of each and can assist to write learning objectives.
  • Consider the overall instructional strategy for your course. This resource, Designing courses for significant learning(Dee Fink), is a guide to designing meaningful learning interactions in your course.
  • Use a variety of activities to reinforce learning objectives to help your students grasp key concepts. These can range from group problem solving excercises to more structured active learning pedagogies.

TEDI run courses on Designing learning activities through the staff development website.

The Learning Designs website and the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) provide ideas for designing your course and activities.

How do I help students engage with this new model?

Preparation: First year students tend to require much more scaffolding than in future years so your expectations of learners will need to cater to their experience. To help students prepare:

  • Inform students in a variety of ways (ECP, BlackBoard announcements, email, SMS) that they need to prepare before coming to class and engage in active learning during class,
  • Explain that active learning learning has proven to be a much more effective way to learn. See the Active learning section for the literature on this,
  • Set clear expectations of what you want students to do in terms of preparation, activities and group work,
  • Develop some ice-breaker activities (Curtain University) to help set a collegial learning atmosphere. For more tips see the Face-to-Face Engagement section.

Ownership: It is important for students to own their learning and be willing to contribute to class discussion and group learning. One method is to set tasks where students set their own group rules. For example, ask them to design protocols for how to work with each other in class or online (e.g. respect each others opinions, talk in turn, contribute to group work, etc). Jude Seaboyer claims that when students come to class prepared it is a much happier and productive atmosphere to learn in. Asking students to create (Educause) content also supports ownership and higher order thinking.

Resistance: in this short essay Svinicki provides advice on making the shift from passive to active learning. Some lecturers who use the flipped classroom method simply require students to come prepared to class or risk 'missing out' and they quickly learn to adapt to expectations (see Andy Fairbairn case study). Carl Sherwood, makes students pair up in his statistics classes so they 'have a friend' to learn difficult concepts with. Carl found that although students were initially shy/ reticent with this approach, they learnt to adapt to this rule which helped to drastically reduce the failure rate.

Assessment can be used to to direct students to prepare by assessing online quizzes and short essays before class (see the Jude Seaboyer case study). In Engineering, peer assessment for group work is heavily weighted (see the Carl Reidsema case study). Another method is disclosed random marking where students are informed that they need to complete regular brief assignments, worksheets or problems before class which are then randomly marked.

Motivation: The Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching has several strategies for motivating students. Sharing your enthusiam for a topic can help students see the value in what you are teaching (see the Jason Tangen case study). Using humour can pique student interest and make lecturers seem more approachable. For example, as a focal point for an activity, a lecturer posted a Seinfield video clip about community perceptions of pharmacists and students were required to discuss their thoughts on this via a blog. Short video clips can also be used during lecture time as a means to spark discussion and debate.

For further information see thes 'Online Engagement' and the 'Face-to-face' sections.

Where to get help

As mentioned above, TEDI and ITS run a number of workshops throughout the year on the pedagogical, technical and practical aspects of flipped classrooms. These are advertised through the Staff Development program. Also see courses on social media, planning assessment and large classes that relate to the flipped classroom.

UQ Librarians can help academics with flipped classroom resources as well as hundreds of other databases (with video, journal articles, audio, images etc) plus assignment research skills, training resources and more.

The ITS site Tools A-Z guide provides information about online, face-to-face and blended learning technologies currently available at UQ.

Flipped Classroom: How do you flip?

Click on the images below to view each video on the screen above

How do you flip?


Workload and preparation

Bates, S., & Galloway, R. (2012). The inverted classroom in a large enrolment introductory physics course: a case study.

Abstract: We present a practice-based case study of curriculum redesign in a large-enrolment introductory physics course taught at the University of Edinburgh. The course has been inverted, or 'flipped', in the sense that content and material is delivered to students for self-study in advance of lectures, via a combination of home-grown electronic course materials, textbook reading and external web resources. Subsequent lectures focus on problems students are still having after self-study of the material, which have been self-reported by them as part of a weekly reading quiz assignment. Lectures are transformed from sessions for transmission or initial presentation of information, to guided discussion sessions, with a particular focus on peer instruction techniques and discussion, facilitated by extensive use of clicker questions. We present details of student engagement with pre-class reading and quiz tasks, comment on student perceptions of this different instructional format, and present data that shows evidence for high quality learning on the course.

Milman, N. (2102) The Flipped Classroom Strategy: What Is it and How Can it Best be Used? Distance Learning 9(3) 85-87

Abstract: In K-12 and higher educational circles, the 'flipped classroom' instructional strategy (also known as the 'inverted classroom') has been receiving a lot of attention. The idea is that rather than taking up limited class time for an instructor to introduce a concept (often via lecture), the instructor can create a video lecture, screencast, or vodcast that teaches students the concept, freeing up valuable class time for more engaging (and often collaborative) activities typically facilitated by the instructor. It is important to note that the strategy should involve more than just the 'take home' video lecture (or screencast or podcast). It should also incorporate formative and summative assessment, as well as meaningful face-to-face (F2F) learning activities. Although many instructors at all educational levels and from various settings have been incorporating this strategy for years, the term is most often attributed to two Colorado high school teachers, Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams, who began creating screencasts and podcasts for their students in 2006 (Makice, 2012). 

Hughes, H. (2012). Introduction to Flipping the College Classroom. In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2012 (pp. 2434-2438). Chesapeake, VA: AACE

Abstract: 'Flipping the classroom' is a pedagogical concept and method that replaces the standard lecture-in-class format with opportunities for students to review, discuss, and investigate course content with the instructor in class. There are many ways that a classroom can be flipped, but the underlying premise is that students review lecture materials outside of class and then come to class prepared to participate in instructor-guided learning activities. This paper provides an introduction to classroom flipping and the instructional design strategies for flipping the college classroom developed at one university.

Pierce, R., & Fox, J. (2012). Vodcasts and Active-Learning Exercises in a 'Flipped Classroom' Model of a Renal Pharmacotherapy Module. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76(10).

Abstract: To implement a 'flipped classroom' model for a renal pharmacotherapy topic module and assess the impact on pharmacy students' performance and attitudes.

Students viewed vodcasts (video podcasts) of lectures prior to the scheduled class and then discussed interactive cases of patients with end-stage renal disease in class. A process-oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) activity was developed and implemented that complemented, summarized, and allowed for application of the material contained in the previously viewed lectures.

Students' performance on the final examination significantly improved compared to performance of students the previous year who completed the same module in a traditional classroom setting. Students' opinions of the POGIL activity and the flipped classroom instructional model were mostly positive.

Implementing a flipped classroom model to teach a renal pharmacotherapy module resulted in improved student performance and favorable student perceptions about the instructional approach. Some of the factors that may have contributed to students' improved scores included: student mediated contact with the course material prior to classes, benchmark and formative assessments administered during the module, and the interactive class activities.

Brown, B. (2012). Flipping the classroom. In Proceedings of the 43rd ACM technical symposium on Computer Science Education, 681-681. New York: ACM.

Abstract: Flipped classrooms are shifting the way teachers provide instruction by inverting traditional teaching methods to engage students in the learning process. Using technology, lectures are moved out of the classroom and delivered online as a means to free up class time for interaction and collaboration. In order to effectively implement a flipped classroom, teachers must possess a set of requisite technical skills, conceptual knowledge and pedagogical expertise. Through this study, a web-based instructional module was developed to provide this information to prospective teachers interested in implementing a flipped classroom. Results indicated that the module was effective in delivering an overview of the required material, but could have benefitted from the inclusion of added examples of working implementations to raise the confidence level of the participants. Added support through a learning community, either in-person or online, would help to provide guidance through initiation and expand on the shared experiences of the individuals.