This module models the UDL Principles of Representation and Action & Expression.

The Flipped Classroom

Course Design to Increase Representation, Expression, and Engagement


Contributing Faculty

Dr. Heidi Bonner
Criminal Justice
East Carolina University


Dr. Heidi Bonner utilizes a flipped classroom design in all of her courses at East Carolina University. Flipping can take many forms, depending on the needs of the students and the instructor, but the basic concept is to push activities that a student can complete on his or her own to prepare for class (e.g. listening to a recorded lecture, watching a video, reading required materials, and/or completing an assignment) outside of classroom time. Doing so reserves in-class time for activities that engage students in the material through a variety of active learning strategies. For a brief introduction to flipping the classroom, view the 60-second summary (Schell, 2013) [transcript].

Figure 1: "What is a Flipped Classroom? (in 60 seconds)" (1:14 minutes)

Dr. Bonner believes that the flipped design, when implemented properly, promotes greater student engagement in the class because in-class activities move beyond lecture and promote higher-order thinking. Further, material is presented in a variety of ways so all learner types can access content in the way that best works for individual styles of learning. In a flipped classroom, students also express their understanding of, and application of, the material in different ways. Regarding her use of flipped classroom design, Dr. Bonner states that her goal is to "provide my students with an engaging classroom atmosphere that promotes active learning and personal responsibility for success."

This module provides an overview of the flipped classroom design, and provides detail on the many ways traditional classrooms can be flipped to provide greater student engagement. A flipped classroom reflects Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, presenting both initial content, and opportunities for application of that content, to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Module Format

Each of the College STAR modules includes a concept map, giving readers an overview of the module content. (A concept map represents information or concepts in a graphical format .) The concept maps show the links between the instructional practice in the module, possible outcomes, and, in some cases, the principles of Universal Design for Learning, known as UDL.

Figure 2, the concept map shown below, illustrates the components of the instructional practice in this module, which is about flipping the classroom. As mentioned, flipping can be implemented in a number of ways and the concept map below depicts Dr. Bonner's approach. A flipped classroom changes practices for both the instructor and the student. For the instructor, course design is critical as many components of a flipped classroom need to be organized properly in order to be effective. Dr. Bonner thinks of each unit of instruction for her classes as a sequence. Out-of-class activities are designed to introduce material and prepare students for in-class activities. The in-class work is intended to reinforce material through application, and is followed by additional out-of class activities designed to cement knowledge and provide feedback about the level of student understanding. Pre-class activities for students include watching recorded lectures and other videos, listening to podcasts, completing required readings, and taking quizzes or completing assignments. In-class activities consist primarily of group work activities, class discussion and debate, and brief individual formative assessments (e.g. minute papers). The structure of in-class work is the key to a flipped classroom as it must address the key concepts covered in the pre-class activities. Post-class activities for students vary and include quizzes, assignments, and reflective journal entries. If the post-class activity indicates that many students have not fully grasped a particular concept, Dr. Bonner can create a brief responsive video or provide an additional in-class activity to provide an opportunity for further application of the material in question. Thus, for the instructor, the flipped design is both purposeful and fluid.

Additionally, in a flipped classroom there is more focus on monitoring student learning via formative assessment than on evaluating student learning through summative assessment. Summative assessment will generally take a less traditional format. For example, exams may be completed in small groups, and contain more problem-solving and short essay questions, or students may be responsible for a group project. Dr. Bonner provides guided reading questions, templates, and rubrics to help her students understand the requirements for summative assessments.

Clicking on the concept map, Figure 2, will enlarge the image.

Concept map presenting an overview of the module content as noted in preceding paragraphs.

Figure 2: Concept Map: Concept Map caption

Module Navigation

There are multiple ways to navigate College STAR modules. Clicking on the sidebar menu takes you directly to the main sections and subsections of the module.

Navigation features located at the top and bottom of each screen allow you to move through the module. Clicking on the “breadcrumb trail” at the top of the module screen takes you directly to previously viewed parts of the module, as shown below in Figure 3 in the example from the Charting Student Information module.

Figure 3: A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page. A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page.

The navigation arrows at the bottom of each screen take you to the previous or next components of the module. The menu link at the bottom of each screen takes you to the top of the screen where you may view the menu sidebar as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 4: Navigation links are also located at the bottom of each page of a module.

Additionally, some links within the text lead to other sections of the module. Please use your preferred method of navigation to proceed to the next section about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).