Steely Library works to flip classrooms across campus

Two of Steely’s librarians are working to implement a new format into classes across campus.

This new format, called the “flipped classroom,” is going to be “more active, with less lecturing,” according to librarian Andrea Brooks who is spearheading this project with librarian Mary Chesnut.

In a flipped classroom, the instructor does less lecturing in class and more work with the students, according to Brooks. The lectures are done outside of the classroom, in the form of videos. After watching the videos, students will take an assessment to see how much they learned.

Parmita Kapadia, a professor who has worked with Brooks and Chesnut, said that the assessments were helpful. “I was able to see where the most confusion was and address those issues in class.”

Chesnut said that the purpose of doing the work in class, instead of doing homework out of class, is to help the students if they get stuck.

Brooks and Chesnut have been working with the English department only so far—specifically, with ENG 291 Advanced College Writing and ENG 151 Honors Freshman Composition, typically only bringing the classes in for one lesson.

The two work with these classes to get them familiar with using advanced search methods, evaluating sources of information and how to properly use the library.

Kapadia teaches some of the sections of ENG 291. She said that her class has a large research component to it. While she wants her students to be familiar with how to use Google and Wikipedia and the internet in general to find information, she does want them to “be aware that there are these other scholarly resources out there.”

Despite Kapadia’s good experience working with Brooks and Chesnut, and the positive experience that she feels her students had, she’s not entirely sure if she’d teach an entire class in this format.

It’s difficult to know if a student actually watched the videos, she said. “I think students would find it difficult to watch the videos between everything else that they’re doing, and their attention wouldn’t be on the video so much,” she said.

However, it is Brooks and Chesnut’s hope that flipped classrooms become the norm in classes, and not just something that is being tried out.

“We’ve had a really positive experience, working with the English department,” Brooks said. “It makes us want to work with more departments.”

Chesnut said that they have a three-year plan to spread flipped classrooms across the university, working with other departments, much like they’ve worked with the English department so far.

According to Chesnut, they plan on talking to three departments this semester, although she did not specify which ones, because they have not yet spoken to those departments.