Lecture flipping- part 4

Seasoned flip teachers generally agree that the online provision of lecture videos is the less important part of classroom flipping. The whole purpose is to free up contact time for more meaningful interactions, problem solving, peer discussions and the like. Small groups allow for genuine student-teacher discussions and collaborative learning with bespoke advice and feedback. In a very large lecture unit, this is more difficult- but not impossible.

In my flip teaching experiment, I’ve used Nearpod again to deliver online quizzes. These take the shape of online slideshows (originally PowerPoints converted to pdf and uploaded to the Nearpod server) into which “functional slides” can be inserted. These could be quizzes, polls, free-text questions and (the most fun) a “draw it” exercise. With pre-set correct answers, the quiz is clearly the easiest to deploy in a very large class because of the automated evaluation (more below).


Trouble is, multiple choice quizzes are pedagogically quite limited tools and tell you little about the current conceptual understanding (or possibly misconceptions) of the students. The “draw it” activity reveals more:


Still, the majority of activities here were MCQ questions. One weakness of Nearpod is that the functioning interactive quizzes have to be in “Nearpod format”, which means slotting a limited number of words into a fixed form. The number of possible answers is not fixed, but images can’t really be included which means that I have to ask students to look at the “question slide”, remember which answer was correct, and then proceed to the fixed-format actual “voting slide” (the black one, bottom right). Works OK, but is tedious.


Students ideally would have watched the video(s) and attempted the voluntary homework before coming to the lecture. I then talked through the results and explained the answers. The “Post session report” was a great help because I could see which questions were easy and which needed more explanation. I also shared that report –several dozen pages long and available as a pdf – on Blackboard to allow students to check their own results by scrolling down to each question. To keep confidentiality, I had asked them to sign into the homework exercise with their student ID number, but apparently that hasn’t been clear enough… Giving feedback on a “Draw it” exercise took more time (the pdf report shows each participant’s drawing and I added a short note for each), but in the end there was only a finite number of wrong ideas.


After that, the fun started. The homework function of Nearpod is actually a more recent development; at the core is the ability to have live, interactive presentations. Tapping into the rich cultural heritage of this country, I dubbed these interactive sessions “pub quizzes” because that’s what they were, minus the beer: Students were invited to get together in teams (as far as the rigid lecture theatre setup allowed), download the Nearpod presentation according to the PIN I gave out and sign in with their team name. The presentations included a bit of fun to live up to the spirit of the pub quiz. Then there were then about five or so MCQ questions that had a real-life connection, required a bit of problem solving and were a little more challenging than what they would see in an exam. Turns out that coming up with these questions was one of the hardest things in the whole lecture flipping experiment! I explained each question and then gave them 2 minutes to discuss it in their team. Full-on chaos ensued- in a good way. I made them vote, and thanks to the excellent wifi capacity of the lecture theatre got virtually instant voting results from all 100-odd teams, which I then discussed briefly.


The live sessions generated a post-session report on my Nearpod accound as well, which again I made available. Half the fun of evaluating this report was in seeing the team names students had chosen. The first page alone included “1Pussypatrol”, “Add me on Grindr”, “ARAWRBOOBYBOOBY” and “asexual”. No lack of diversity there.