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Student feedback on flip- Heading in the right direction

April 21, 2012

After 3 weeks, and 2 units completed, of flipping my Biology 12 class i gave my students another survey so I could get their take on the changes.  I’ve been continually reflected during the past 3 weeks in order to find ways to improve the class and getting student feedback is a great way to do that.

Note- I realized after I gave the survey that I could get them to elaborate on their yes/ no answer.  They did give their likes/ dislikes of the flip class at the end

Here are the results to the the survey that I gave them:

1. Did you watch the respiration videos?

Yes- 23 students

No- 1 students

2. Did you find the activities that we did in class helpful?

Yes- 19 students

No- 5 students

3. Did you find the discussions with other students at the beginning of the class helpful?

Yes- 21 students

No- 3 students

4. How do you feel, after watching the videos and doing the in class questions and assignments, about your grasp of the Respiration process?

Extremely confident -12 students

Somewhat confident but need more help- 12 students

Not very confident- 0 students

No idea what is going on – 0 students

5. Please describe the effort you have been putting in during your time in class?

I’m trying as hard as I can…max effort- 5 students

I’m putting in a good effort each day- 18 students

I’m not really trying- 1 student

Minimal Effort- 0 students

6. Would you like to continue trying the video notes so we can have more time in class for the activities/ labs/ discussions?

Yes- 21 students

No- 3 students

7. What have you liked about the “flipped Class”?

  • I like having more class time to learn on your own! it’s a really good idea and i feel more confident than sitting in class doing it

  • I really like being able to go back and watch the videos at any time

  • I like that we can come to class with a decent idea of what’s going on. I like that the videos are short and simple, and even for review (midterm/final) or if you missed, it’s easier to catch up.
  • More constructive use of time during class, class is more exciting, I learn better by talking with others rather than just copying notes. Also less time spent on homework.
  • If I miss a class the online video work good to know what’s going on. Allows for more class time work. Can watch multiple times for a better understanding. Really like watching and taking notes at the same time.
  • The in class assignments/activities which help us to understand the processes rather than just writing them down in our notes and memorizing the information given. They rock!
  • I like the fact that I can learn the concept the night before and then come to school with questions for Mr. Harkness. This way I have a night to sleep on the concept and let it register in my brain. Also, if I’m unclear on a concept, I can just re-watch the video to help me review. I also like the fact that we can learn the notes at our own speed, on our own time. I enjoy the flipped class 🙂
  • Not getting bored out of my mind during taking notes, more time during class to actually do things

  • Lots of time to understand the concepts better and time to work on our assignments.

  • I liked how each of us can work at our own rates and put in our the own amount of effort we want to.

  • Time efficiency, good discussions, easily understood notes.

  • I like doing the activities and such but would rather just be doing the notes in class because I felt I learned more and better by doing so.
  • I liked that I could sit at home, and just watch your videos on TV. It was great for reviewing, gave me the option to go for a walk, and just listen to the videos. It makes it feel so much easier, 30 minutes, rather than taking 3 hours (3 class days) to go over it.
  • It makes studying easier because I can watch before the test.

  • its good and the discussions are good but i think groups should be made by the students. If you want to work hard go with hard working people, if not then whatever.
  • More in class time

  • It gives me the chance to learn on my own time and have the privilege to go back and listen to the videos again if I am not grasping the concept as best as I can.
  • not much ( I appreciate his/ her honesty)

  • I am able to understand the information better through activities and work rather than notes

8. What would like to see changed for next unit?

  • I know that you want to keep the videos short so people will actually watch them, but if you need to make them longer that is fine with me.
  • I would like to take a little more notes in class to go over the things in the videos

  • I think we should keep the videos, but in class actually go in depth as a whole class together into some specific details. Most of the specific words are not remembered or understood by watching the video once. But, I think we should go over what details we NEED to know. (too much detail in the textbooks that we don’t actually need that we don’t need to stress about)
  • Maybe have the longer videos broken into two shorter ones if possible?

  • Nothing
  • Video and in class notes Also many practice questions(mc questions)

  • Making more recap sheets/ tricks to get the information digested in our brains.

  • A bit more time going over the notes as a group and reviewing would be appreciated! But for the most part I quite enjoy the system we’ve got going! Thanks!
  • A different approach towards discussing the video

  • Maybe give us brief notes that we can copy on some of the harder concepts

  • I’d like us to use our class time more effectively by either working on the assignment in class more or working on projects.

  • Maybe some interactive notes such as videos/animations during the flipped lessons.

  • Notes in class.

  • I would like some more review, just to explain the video, taking 10 or so minutes to review our notes. And then letting us go free to work in groups to answer questions and what not. Although, I think it was highly successful, there is a lot of group work. And by that, I mean a little too much. Spending the whole hour in a group, I would do maybe 30 minutes, but not the entire time going over and reviewing it with our peers. I think the outcome of this would be more comfort and the knowledge gain would be the same. Except for those that may goof off once free to work on an assignment.
  • More time for the assignment.

  • Less time doing group discussions and a little more time just doing written questions.

  • more group discussions

  • I prefer the power point presentations over the last video you made, where you did the notepad. It’s easier for me and I would like to see more diagrams and pictures for when you explain the main ideas.
  • no more videos

Take Away

From the feedback, it looks to me like the majority of the students are enjoying the new approach but the in-class portion needs to be reassessed.  The discussion groups have been the most debated topic that I need to try to find a solution to.  Some love it and some hate it.  As we all know, it is tough to make perfect groups.  I try to spread out the strong students so they hopefully serve as a spark plug for some of the weaker students.  From the feedback, I can see that this may lead to some frustration as they feel they would get more out of talking with other strong students.  I think I will continue to keep mixing up the groups and I will do a better job of “policing” the groups to ensure all students are involved and engaged in the discussions.

Another take away is that students are having a tough time letting go of the in-class notes.  What I have tried to explain, and I will continue to reiterate this, is there is nothing different from last years in-class notes and this year’s video notes.  Both cover the same learning outcomes in the same amount of detail.  The only difference is the time, place, and delivery method of those notes.

Also, from the feedback, some students aren’t understanding the other aspect of the flipped class; students need to become more responsible for their own learning.  This means that I am not going to “spoon-feed” them the answers.  I try to create labs and activities that build connections and provide opportunities for deeper understanding of the concepts from the videos.

I think it is so easy to get fixated on the 1 or 2 students that aren’t enjoying the flipped class since they are usually the most vocal.  After seeing the feedback and the success in the classroom it is clear to me that the new approach is working.  There are obviously some things to tweak and change and I am still going to try to get those “vocal” people on board.

Overall, I think the flip class is heading in the right direction.  Students are enjoying coming to class and they are learning what they need to know.  I think my version of flipped class will continue to grow and will continue to get better.

Any advice? suggestions?


8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2012 3:42 pm

    Scott, get reflection. The honesty of the student’s feedback is awesome. I wonder what the results would be if you did this type of survey with your “non” flipped classes. My guess is that there would be more kids disengaged and looking for alternatives. It’s funny that kids are still so focused on notes in spite of your affirmations that they are not important. Thanks for sharing the journey.

    • April 22, 2012 4:13 pm

      I was really pleased with the amount of thought the students put in. I wish I had another bio12 class to use as a comparison. It’s funny how they have been hardwired into class notes. I was too, even as a teacher. Originally, I thought the only way to relay content to the students was through notes. Now, I see that there are so many other ways

      Thanks Darcy!

  2. April 22, 2012 9:45 pm

    This is great: I love your reflective nature and the honesty your students showed. Keep up the amazing work.

  3. April 22, 2012 10:05 pm

    Great information from your students. They really are getting the advantages. Thanks for posting this. I want to poll our kids now. (PS I work with Jon Bergmann)

    • April 23, 2012 12:13 am

      Thanks Elisabeth, Its amazing how insightful students can be. Their feedback is so important to the evolution of our flip class


  4. April 23, 2012 6:18 am

    Just wondering how you would feel if the entire at home process was no longer in your control? I’m worried that “canned” courses are going to be shot through the system, making us facilitators over teachers. I’m going to speculate that I would be open to the flipped model if the at-home material was mine, not the Ministry’s. How would you feel if the at-home portion was no longer your material?

    • April 24, 2012 2:23 am

      Hi Dana,

      Sorry for the delayed reply but my first reply didn’t post properly.

      I wouldn’t like having to give a “canned” version of a video because I like creating the videos and the students like it when I am the one on the video. I’ve used other teachers videos when I have been short on time and they haven’t liked them as much (even though the other videos are as good or better than mine would have been).

      I hope the ministry continues to allow me the autonomy to create my own videos but if they didn’t I would still continue with the flipped model since I think it works well for students

      Also, in a way I am already a facilitator in the classroom. The ministry tells me what learning outcomes the students need to meet and it is my job to get them there. The nice thing about the flipped model is it allows me the time, in class, to hold meaningful discussions, labs, and activities that help the students develop better understanding of those concepts. For the most part I try to put the learning in the students hands and only try to push them in the right direction.

      I hope this answers your questions but if it doesn’t or you have any others please feel free to let me know



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