TEACHING NOTES: More on flipping – Student accountability

In our March issue, we looked at an article on flipped classrooms and how to manage “flip resisters” –  students who are fairly neutral about flipped classrooms and particularly do not like the pre-learning aspects. We also asked the questions:

  1. What is your flipped teaching strategy and what theoretical perspective underpins it?
  2. How will you evaluate its success?

We know that even when students find the flipped classroom challenging, active participation in class activities and learning outcomes are improved when:

  • a theoretical perspective is used to inform the flipped teaching strategy
  • assessment is integrated into the flipped classroom design
  • the entire topic is flipped.

But what do you do when despite this, students still come unprepared for class?

It all comes down to accountability and this is limited only by your imagination. Some different ideas we at CILT have seen used include:

  • Reinforcing the value of active learning and face-to-face time with the teacher

The most value in class comes from you being able to expand upon, apply or otherwise work on the concepts or knowledge the students are supposed to have. It does not come from you simply going through the material with them. Students come to class to undertake those tasks they cannot do alone so making the class involve active learning and reinforcing the value of this may help.

  • pre-class quizzes

Simple pre-class quizzes allow students to check their understanding privately before coming to class, which can lead to improved engagement during class, especially for those students who are nervous about contributing. It also allows you the opportunity to analyse quiz outcomes and address misconceptions before class begins.

  • placing nominal marks against preparatory activities

Even a small amount of marks (e.g. 5%) are a large motivator for some students and can be very effective in ensuring completion of preparatory work. This is easily applied to both technology and paper based activities. If you don’t want to apply marks, activities can simply be mandatory but not graded.

  • pre-class discussion forum contributions / discussions

Contributing to discussion forums, blogs, Padlet posts or taking part in a Collaborate discussion prior to class can also enrich in-class discussions and ensure students are coming prepared.

  • graded in-class activities

These usually involve learning activities that cannot be successfully completed unless students have completed the preparatory work. This might just be a short written quiz or assignment or you might make it more fun by using Active Quiz, Kahoot or Socrative for and active technology-based in-class quiz.

  • ‘entrance ticket’ assignments

These can be any kind of assignment, based on the preparatory work, students must complete and hand in before class.


Once in class you could also consider the value of grouping students based on whether or not they have done the preparatory work. This allows an appropriate depth of discussion based on what the students have prepared for. But the bottom line is, if you allow for students not doing the work beforehand and cover it in class, you are doing a disservice to those students who bothered and simply rewarding those who didn’t.

If you are worried this all takes time, well, yes, topic design does need some time to reflect but you could consider what aspect of the topic need your input, what can be automated (e.g. quizzes with automated feedback) and what the students can do themselves (e.g. self-review with checklists or peer to peer feedback). These strategies can all help to manage workload more efficiently.

For more help contact us at CILT.

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