Microflipping? Really?

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education shared a post entitled Microflipping: a Modest Twist on the Flipped Classroom.  In the post, the author, Sam Buemi, discusses how instructors can use technology to “microflip” a lecture to create more engagement with students and to help them better learn content.  As Buemi presents the concept, a microflipped classroom involves an instructor going “through his or her content for the day’s lecture. The instructor should not allow more than five minutes of lecture time to pass before students begin to engage with the material. Tools used might include student responses to clicker-type questions, mobile-app engagement, and small or large class activities, to name a few.”  The approach, Buemi suggests, works for students who “have done the required assignments before class and those who have not.”  In Buemi’s view, “microflipping” blends the traditional classroom and the flipped classroom approaches.  Instructors still lecture but use technology to build student interest and assess student learning.  Microflipping is born!

While I typically enjoy reading the articles presented on the Chronicle, this post really confused me. Looking at the comments, it seems that I wasn’t the only one.  While “microflipping” has a catchy name, it really just sounds like teaching with active learning strategies.  While the “microflipping” approach utilizes technology more than a traditional classroom might, any approach that emphasizes “class engagement and critical thinking are a central priority in helping students learn” is really just successfully leveraging active learning strategies.  I don’t mean to be dismissive of “microflipping.”  I just worry that as we keep adding new names to describe different instructional techniques that we fall victim to faddism, or at least the criticism of faddism.  We have flipping and blending and microflipping and MOOCS and online classes and peer instruction and … and…

Maybe it’s time that we just take a step back and talk about what good undergraduate instruction should look like and worry less about catchy names and coming up with a new disruptive educational trend or the next fad.  To describe good undergraduate teaching, I always return to Chickering and Gamson.  While it’s over 25 years old, it still stands as a timeless target for all of us working in collegiate settings.  Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education include:

1.  Encourages contact between students and faculty
2.  Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
3.  Encourages active learning.
4.  Gives prompt feedback.
5.  Emphasizes time on task.
6.  Communicates high expectations.
7.  Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

While Chickering and Gamson don’t explicitly discuss HOW to incorporate these principles, they’re clear that these guiding principles are critical for quality collegiate instruction.  And possibly that’s the challenge and confusion.  Maybe we all get too focused on describing the hows that we lose sight of the basic elements that good teaching should incorporate.  As Shakespeare would say, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

  • encourages contact between students and faculty,
  • develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  • encourages active learning,
  • gives prompt feedback,
  • emphasizes time on task,
  • communicates high expectations, and
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

– See more at: http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/education-philosophy/seven-principles#sthash.faLRMOeg.dpuf

  • encourages contact between students and faculty,
  • develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  • encourages active learning,
  • gives prompt feedback,
  • emphasizes time on task,
  • communicates high expectations, and
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

– See more at: http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/education-philosophy/seven-principles#sthash.faLRMOeg.dpuf

  • encourages contact between students and faculty,
  • develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  • encourages active learning,
  • gives prompt feedback,
  • emphasizes time on task,
  • communicates high expectations, and
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

– See more at: http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/education-philosophy/seven-principles#sthash.faLRMOeg.dpuf

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One thought on “Microflipping? Really?

  1. Pingback: Top Posts from 2014 – Part 1 |

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