"Flipped" classrooms are not a new idea. Humanities classes have been using this concept for decades, if not centuries. A "flipped" classroom occurs when the students learn the lecture materials or do the assigned reading outside of the classroom and then arrive to class fully prepared to engage with the material in an active learning environment. Consider the typical English literature course. Students are assigned to read a text--Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, for example--and then show up to class the next day prepared to discuss the key topics contained within that novel. Or they may be assigned parts in a play they have to read and then come to class prepared to perform their role. In a history class, students might be assigned to read a few chapters on the American Civil War, and then come to class to debate the issues of North v. South. Maybe one half of the class is assigned to represent the Union and the other half represents the Confederacy, and they have a spirited--yet respectful--debate over which side was "right" during the conflict. These examples are very common in humanities.
In STEM classes, however, there does seem to be more emphasis on lecturing over the content in class. For example, a graduate-level electrical engineering course may involve the instructor spending the majority of the time giving students lots of information about formulas, theorems, and proofs relevant to electrical engineering. The students sit there and maybe they are listening and maybe they aren't. Then they are expected to do all of their actual active learning outside of the classroom. Maybe they work together, maybe they don't. A more useful method is to have them watch videos or read the material before they come to class, but do it in a structured way so that they know what key points to look for. The students can then come to class prepared to engage with each other to work on the homework problems, ask questions, gain clarification, or discuss applications of the material.
This is how a flipped classroom works. Several S&T faculty are pioneers and innovators when it comes to flipped classrooms. Their videos are posted below.
If you would like to consult with CAFE instructional designers about how you can transform your classroom into a flipped environment, please click the link below to schedule a consultation: