By Laura Le and Ann Brearley (University of Minnesota)
Over the last several years, the phrase “flipping a course” has become a buzzword in educational settings. In essence, “flipping a course” interchanges the active and passive parts of learning, moving the passive parts (such as lectures) outside of class and moving the active parts (such as assignments) into class. Although the flipped classroom is typically used in face-to-face classroom settings, we have successfully used this model in an online introductory statistics course. The course, Biostatistical Literacy, is aimed at graduate students in public health, and its primary goal is to develop student ability to read and interpret statistical results in the medical and public health literature. The online section of this course enrolls between 50 and 80 students per term. The course is divided into 15 units (i.e., statistical topics), and each unit consists of three parts. First, students prepare by reading chapters from the textbook and listening to audio-recorded lectures, and then complete a readiness quiz to ensure they are ready for the learning activities. Second, students work individually or in groups to complete two learning activities that explore and apply the concepts. Class discussion of the learning activities takes place through “collaborative keys”, which involve the class working collaboratively to create the answer key for each activity via Google Documents. Each student is required to contribute at least once to each key, and the instructor monitors and guides the discussions. Lastly, to assess students’ understanding of the unit’s topic, students complete an end-of-unit quiz. Examples of readiness quizzes, learning activities, collaborative keys, and end-of-unit quizzes, as well as details about how we use them in our course, will be on display to inspire others to “flip” their online classes.