Flipping and Creating: Innovations in Course Design

This week’s entry is chronicling the beginning of a two-part journey that I’m engaging in this semester involving flipping one course I teach and adding discipline-focused seminar sections to the other.

Flipping and Course Redesign

For those not familiar with this idea of flipping the classroom, Knewton provides a lovely infographic on flipping here, but put simply, it turns the traditional classroom structure of lecture during class and activity-based assessment outside of class and “flips” it so that instruction or input happens before class through online lecture, videos and course readings with class time reserved for activities and collaboration that reinforces the lecture based concepts.

I’m super excited to be flipping my Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Classroom Management class.  This class is SO full that between lecture and activities, I’m constantly running out of time, have a lot of assignments/ assessments that are relegated to discussion boards and extended extra time outside of class, and have to spend a good 15-20 minutes at almost 1/2 of my sessions explaining and clarifying assignments.  After looking at my course redesign matrix and modules, I can see that the flipped version of the class will be more closely aligned to the course learning outcomes, will allow for me to more closely mentor and model activities for students, and will require less work outside of class and clearer understandings of what I’m looking for in terms of assessments and assignments.  And, engaging in course redesign has helped me to work with the backwards design model (Grant Wiggins, one of the Understanding by Design gurus discovers backwards design here), walking the walk rather than just talking the talk–thinking about what I really want students to walk away with from the class.

Innovating and Course Design

The other initiative that I’m working on, thanks to funding from a recent grant to my university, is adding disciplinary literacy seminar sections to my content area literacy course for secondary teachers.  This is a super passion for me, as I’m an adolescent literacy researcher and the research in this area notes the importance of discipline specific literacy perspectives for teachers, and although I also believe that it’s important for all teachers to know general literacy strategies to support struggling readers and specific language based strategies to support English Language Learners, these new lab sections will help prepare our future teachers for meeting all students’ needs within their classroom.

So, starting on the journey of course design and writing on this to document the beginning and my goals for the outcomes so that as the logistics get stickier, I’m reminded of the end and the goals for the design and redesign projects.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 3.44.07 PM