​​Chair of Excellence Award: 2014-17

Flip the Flip: Student Authored Lecture Replacement

Walter Meyer, Santa Monica College

Although “flipping the classroom” has become popular in the last few years, it is not a new concept. The next step in changing the dynamics of our classroom is to “flip the flip”: to empower our students to create “flip the classroom” resources for themselves and to share with their peers. There has been extensive research on millennial learners that demonstrate that they thrive in environments that are non-hierarchical, collaborative and self-directed. In spring 2008, I began delivering some of my lecture content through digital pedagogy to free up more time for collaborative group projects. This resulted in students working on a final project where they produced both a written and an audio/visual work which was uploaded to YouTube.

Students were asked to work in groups and research and develop an idea and then create simple digital outputs that could be shared with their peers and archived for future learners.   This has expanded to my present classroom where students on a weekly basis are responsible to work in groups and master a set of information to then offer back to their peers. This pedagogy has demonstrated a greater commitment and engagement to the course as well as increased retention and success. Especially pertinent is the effect this has had for non-traditional students and traditionally under-represented populations in higher education who were able to translate their learning into increased proficiency in traditional assessments on essay exams and papers. Class time is spent on discussing and evaluating the student presentations, mini lectures to build deeper connections with the course material, and time to work in their groups and run ideas by their professor. The level of student mastery and ownership of the course material has dramatically increased.

Every semester the student presentations get better. I believe this is for a number of reasons. First, students are increasingly more adept at these resources having taken, edited and uploaded video to some form of social media. Second, every semester, there is a greater repository of YouTube videos from their previous peers so that they learn from each other and set the bar even higher. Third, peer pressure can be a positive motivator: students want to look good in front of their peers and push themselves harder than if they were simply creating something for their professor only. Fourth, this type of assignment is “fun” and students are willing to put in far greater time creating their own work and critiquing their peers when it involves a digital output.

Below is a YouTube playlist of final projects in which students were asked to discuss Modern and Contemporary art in relation to the Santa Monica College Global Citizenship theme of Peace and Security.

Students are required to produce both a traditional written essay along with their audio visual one. Students call each other out on their interpretations and factual inaccuracies. This last semester, I required that the videos be “Close Captioned” so that they would meet Universal Accessibility requirements that our college enforces. This allowed for a conversation about different learning styles and the distinction between the spoken and written word. Furthermore, the quality of the presentations was increased because they had to consider the transcript and its readability.

As an instructor, I remain the content authority, making sound digital pedagogy and steering topics and discussion in class. I am also a facilitator for the students to master material on their own and to author their own lecture replacement to share with their peers. Many of my students are art majors and I believe that this type of active learning is equally applicable to Art Appreciation and studio.

I am grateful the Santa Monica College Foundation and the Martin Sosin Chair of Excellence in supporting this research.