OpenFiction [Blog]

OCW and the inverted classroom

I recently wrote a case study of Robert Talbert’s use of OCW in his “inverted classroom” approach to teaching programming skills.

Professor Talbert’s class was not a direct equivalent of courses offered at MIT — his was MATLAB-based — but OCW was nonetheless the perfect resource for designing and supporting the course. Talbert planned to teach using an “inverted classroom” approach, in which students acquire the bulk of the course information outside of class, through print and media resources, do preparatory homework assignments, and then put their basic knowledge to work through in-class lab activities.

Robert has a great post on the advantages and challenges of this approach over on his site:

Students do tend to resist the inverted classroom at first. Some forms of resistance are more benign than others. On the benign end of the spectrum there are students with little experience with the course material or its prerequisites who get bogged down on the basic podcast viewing (which takes the place of in-class lectures in this model) or the accompanying guided practice, and instead of actively seeking a resolution to their question will wait for the instructor to clear it up — in class. On the other end is the student who simply doesn’t believe I’m serious when I say there won’t be any lecturing, who then doesn’t do the work, assuming I’ll bail him out somehow — in class. But in the inverted model, students are held responsible for acquiring basic competencies before class so that the hard stuff — what we refer to as assimilation — is the primary focus of the class time.

It’s interesting to see how open educational resources generate new educational opportunities, but also demand new skills of both educators and students.

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