Teaching and Learning in a “Flipped” Class
This is the third summer that I am teaching Marketing 201 online to a group of talented and motivated undergraduates. The students may not be aware of this, but the format of the course is labeled a “flipped” class. A class is “flipped” when the lectures are prerecorded, posted and streamed to students at their convenience outside of class. Class time is devoted case discussions and applications of the concepts covered in lectures.
The traditional pattern has been to assign students to read textbooks and work on problems outside the classroom, while class time is devoted to listening to lectures and taking tests. Historically, college lectures have tended to repeat what is in the textbook. As a student myself (and I admit to being a nerd who did homework), I used to find this quite annoying. If the professor was going to repeat what he or she had assigned students to read, I could not figure out why I was both doing the reading assignment and attending the class. Students are smart and quickly caught onto this, since a big complaint among faculty is that students do not do their assigned reading.
Although there is an impressive body of literature accumulating on this subject, I came to the “flipped” class in a pragmatic way. I have never been crazy about lecturing, although I do a bit of it in my online course to summarize the topics the class is studying each week. In the field of marketing, I always found case discussions and applications to be interesting and my feedback from students is that they find these engaging. And so I have “flipped.”
In my experience, the reception has been more positive among undergraduate students than with graduate students, who seem to expect lectures. Undergrads appear to learn better through experiential aspects that cases offer and their scores on tests indicate to me that they are learning the concepts as well as their application. I should also add that the students themselves have been presenting and leading the case discussion in the online classroom. So I will leave it to them to comment on the positives, difficulties and perhaps confusions that they have faced taking this online “flipped” summer course.