Scaffolding the flip: Developing an activity support system for instructors of flipped classroom courses

Principal Investigator: Kumaran Rajaram, Lecturer, Division of Strategy, Management & Organization, Nanyang Business School
Co-PI: Kevin Hartman, Research Scientist, Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU)
Research Associate: Chung Sheng Hung, CRADLE@NTU
Funding Agency: NTU EdEx
In 2007, American educators Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams took advantage of video recording technologies to produce lectures students could watch prior to attending classes. As YouTube was still in its infancy, the pair had to go to extremes to disseminate these pre-recorded lectures by self-hosting them online and issuing storage devices to students with no home-based Internet access.
This seemingly modest pedagogical technique turned face-to-face classroom hours into more productive activities that helped morph students from passive information recipients to more engaged learners. Such impact made Bergmann and Sams overnight academic evangelists of Flipped Classrooms – now an instructional strategy in a technology-driven education era.
While the principle of offloading lectures for viewing prior to class is simple, instructors do not blindly flip their class without designing meaningful learning activities to fill the vacated time. Now, imagine scaling the flip to a course coordinator responsible for multiple instructors each of whom is asked to conduct a semester’s worth of sessions without lecturing.
Dr Kumaran Rajaram of Nanyang Business School is such a forward-thinking course coordinator. When his course was nominated for Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL) conversion, he instantly thought of what it meant for his instructors. After all, he had taught the course for six semesters and always changed his activities. Invariably, some of his instructors would be in their first semester of teaching after the conversion. With the assistance of the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) and support of NTU’s Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy Division, Dr Rajaram seeks to deliver on the promises of the Flipped Classroom by moving learning “from good to great.”
Dr Rajaram’s project focuses on smoothing out the transition faculty have to go through as they move from centering their sessions on lectures to facilitation of student interactions. Dr Rajaram and CRADLE@NTU are creating an online support system that helps course coordinators offload some of the difficulties new instructors have with administering classroom activities, generating new materials, and making learning visible in real-time.