STEM Faculty Motivation to Implement and Sustain Flipped Teaching: A Cohort-Based Approach to Systemic Instructional Change

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Sharon Locke, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Chaya Gopalan, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Lynn Bartels, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Georgia Bracey, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Julie Fickas, Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park

STEM faculty members from a Midwestern regional public university and nearby community college implemented flipped teaching as part of a research study of faculty attitudes and strategies for flipped instruction. Two cohorts of faculty members (twelve from each institution) participated in a series of fall semester workshops on flipped teaching approaches and then taught partial or fully flipped courses in the following spring semester. The faculty participants created new course materials and implementation plans that document their instructional choices, including which courses to flip, the format for flipping, and strategies to assess learning. Across the two cohorts, a large majority of the faculty participants (87.5%) required students to view online video content for the pre-class activity, while a smaller proportion (33%) required readings or a written assignment. For the primary in-class activity, all but one faculty member implemented small group work on problems sets, worksheets, and/or discussion of content. Although class size ranged from 3 to 281 students, there was no observable relationship between class size and the choice to teach as a full flip or a partial flip. More than half of the faculty participants chose to partially flip their class, and this was consistent between the university and the community college. In Cohort 1, of the eight faculty members who started flipped teaching as a partial flip, five had transitioned to instruction using a full flip or expanded partial flip by their third semester of flipping. Furthermore, the majority of these faculty expressed intention to continue flipping and/or expand the instructional method to other courses. A combination of training, ongoing support, and serving as a peer mentor has helped faculty members who are new to flipping to be sufficiently confident in their teaching abilities in a new active learning format. Further, cross-institutional learning appears to have enhanced faculty adoption of flipping; university faculty members valued community college faculty perspectives and experience, and vice versa.

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