Flipping the class

Remote Teaching at BU: Flipping the Class

Transitioning from physical, in-person classes to remote, online teaching is not an easy task, and there may be many bumps both on the faculty and students’ side. Students may be in different time-zones with various Internet speeds, or some international students may have a harder time accessing course material due to their country’s rules and regulations surrounding certain websites.

One of the ways to minimize these bumps, and ensure learning is taking place as effectively as possible is to have a flexible mindset towards the transition and the structure of your class. Flipping your synchronous sessions, and re-purposing your usual ‘lecture time’ to address questions and do more in-class discussions using the Zoom break-out rooms feature, allows for more flexibility during class time. Here are some tips and best practices for flipping your synchronous online session:

Coursework on Blackboard

Put all content of your coursework on Blackboard, and ask students to review them in advance of the synchronous class session:

  • Have students complete short, low-stakes, online activities, created as mini-assignments to ensure students are also engaging with the materials.
  • Post two questions on Blackboard for the content of each day
    • What did you learn from this content?
    • What questions do you still have for me about this content?

These questions will allow you to review students’ knowledge and concerns in advance, and make better use of the synchronous session online. It will also allow you to address content questions, even if a student has not been able to attend the synchronous session or is potentially having microphone issues during the session.

Host mini-recordings of your lectures

You do not need to have any high-tech video editing skills to do so, and there are a number of programs, which allow you to record your lectures by simply doing a voice-over on your slides:

  • BU-supported MyMedia/Kaltura allows you to create videos. Kaltura allows students to respond to questions while viewing the videos.
  • Adobe Premiere Rush, part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, allows you to do voice narration over images, slides, etc.
  • If you don’t have slides, or have the time to make them, then record yourself lecturing in front of your computer’s camera, and post the video file to mymedia.bu.edu, and share it with your students on Blackboard.

Use your synchronous online class sessions

Utilize class sessions to fill in knowledge gaps, answer questions, and interact in break-out groups on Zoom:

  • Respond to students’ posted questions.
  • Encourage students to use the hand-raising feature on Zoom to ask questions, especially for larger classes.
  • Review course content, especially where you noticed there may be a gap in students’ learning.
  • Use the break-out room feature on Zoom to have students interact in smaller groups on activities, projects, course readings. As the ‘host’ on Zoom, you have the ability to move from one break-out room to another.
  • Record the synchronous sessions on Zoom. Use the ‘record’ feature, so students who are in different time-zones or have unforeseen circumstances can view the recording at a later time.

Read more about flipping the class at Boston University.

About the author: Pary Fassihi is a lecturer in the CAS Writing Program and a Faculty Consultant on Digital Learning Modules within CAS. Pary’s primary focus is teaching academic writing to non-native speakers of English. Her most recent project in the Writing Program included collaborating with faculty to design and produce Flipped Learning Modules to be utilized by the entire BU community.

If you have a request for pedagogical support or for information on a specific mode of teaching or adjusting assignments, please contact ctl@bu.edu. For technical questions regarding remote teaching, contact AskEdTech@bu.edu.