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The Flipped Classroom Model: An Investigation of Faculty Perspectives and Student Achievement

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Research paper
Roundtable presentation

Tuesday, December 1, 11:15 am–12:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)
Presentation 1 of 2
Other presentations:
Reaching 21st Century STEM Pedagogy Using Augmented Reality (AR) in Teacher Preparation

Dr. Lucretia Fraga  
Janis Harmon  

This presentation will discuss a mixed method study from an investigation of faculty perspectives and student achievement on the flipped classroom model of instruction in higher education. Specifically, how disciplinary literacy is used in the flipped classroom model with undergraduate students.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Instructional design & delivery
Grade level: Community college/university
Subject area: Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation, Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary


We draw upon several useful theoretical perspectives for situating the flipped classroom model of learning, including the idea that learning requires active participation on the part of the learner (Piaget, 1971). In the flipped classroom model, students are exposed to a variety of activities within the classroom to apply their newly gained knowledge. The flipped classroom also embraces a socio-constructivist theory of learning inviting students to be active participants in their own learning with the support of the instructor (Vygotsky, 1978). Through careful reflection about their own thinking and actions--a reflection that leads to metacognitive awareness, students come to realize that they are in control of what they learn about the topic under study. This self-regulated learning is at the heart of the flipped classroom concept. Still another theoretical lens for examining flipped classrooms is activity theory. Activity theory is based upon the notion that learning occurs within some system of activity and that these systems can be analyzed from a socio-cultural stance (Jonassen & Rohrer-Murphy, 1999).
Differentiated instruction. The flipped classroom provides the infrastructure needed to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners found in classrooms today. There is a considerable body of literature that substantiates the importance and effectiveness of differentiated instruction (e.g., Kryza, Duncan, Stevens, 2010; Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). Studies that focus on differentiated instruction cross a variety of disciplines as well as age groups. For example, in their study of differentiated mathematics instruction with college students, Chamberlin and Powers (2010) found that those students who were given differentiated instruction demonstrated higher gains in mathematical understandings compared to a control group. In another study researchers documented one special education teacher's growing understandings of differentiated instruction (Ernest, Heckaman, Thompson, Hull, & Carter, 2011). In still another study the effects of differentiated instruction on the reading achievement of elementary students was examined (Reis, McCoach, Little, Muller, & Burcu, 2011).
Teacher/student interaction. One critical variable that impacts learning in all classroom settings regardless of discipline or student age is the nature of teacher/student interaction. In fact, teacher/student interaction is an important predictor of not only classroom discipline but also the classroom climate in which learning can occur (Rosenthal, 1994). Furthermore, the quality of teacher/student interaction has a direct impact on student academic achievement as well as student attitudes about learning (Connor, Son, Hindman, & Morrison, 2005; den Brok, van Tartwijk, Wubbels, & Veldman, 2010). These interactions focus on student learning as an outcome that relies heavily on the teacher. As in the words of Pattison, Hale, and Gowens (2011), "Excellent professors do not teach subjects or classes; they teach students" (p. 39). Even at the college level, the rapport and interaction between teacher and students is critical to learning. The flipped classroom model promotes more teacher/student interactions. This model allows teachers and instructors the opportunity to work more closely and more frequently with individual students building important rapport and interactions and providing essential feedback as students apply newly acquired understandings of content--all of which encourage learning.
Current technology. From an interdisciplinary viewpoint, several theories of learning help to explain the use of technology for learning. For many university faculty, these theories serve as an underlying structure that drives how to approach teaching with technology. One form of technology that is changing the way we live, access information, communicate and think about learning is mobile technology. Mobile technology and, more specifically, mobile devices have played a significant role in where and how we access information. The use of mobile technologies has allowed society to access information and learn virtually anywhere. This kind of learning is commonly referred to as mobile learning (Alexander, 2004). Mobile learning is defined as learning that takes place “anytime, anywhere” (Wagner & Wilson, 2005).


Methodology of the Research
This mixed method study includes the collection of qualitative data and quantitative data from faculty that used the Flipped Classroom model of teaching in higher education. Qualitative studies often use a case study approach to explore phenomena with one or more individuals and use a variety of data collection procedures over time (Creswell, 2009; Punch, 2009). Because of the dynamic data, Yin (2009) suggested that case studies offer the “how” and “why” to complement research studies and due to the amount of time and data that is needed, should be carefully selected. According to Herriott and Firestone, (1983), multiple case studies are considered more extensive and can be more persuasive which builds a substantial study.
This qualitative multiple case study focused on historical/archival data as well as current interviews. Qualitative data sources included interviews, observations, and documents including schedules, lesson plans, and syllabi that support each faculty member in the use of the flipped classroom model. The researchers used an interview protocol when collecting data regarding the perspectives of the Flipped Classroom model of teaching. Finally, for the quantitative data, we collected anonymous archival student achievement data from previous courses for each faculty participant. The anonymous archival student achievement data included any previous scores from flipped classroom assignments obtained from faculty participants.


Preliminary findings suggest that the use of the flipped classroom model of instruction may be influenced by student preferences for this type of instructional model. In this study, one professor states this model of teaching has shown great success with undergraduate students of various academic levels. Further disaggregation of data is still needed for complete results of this study.


There are many studies in regards to the flipped classroom model of instruction. However, there is a dearth of research in the area of the flipped classroom model in higher education and specifically in relation to disciplinary literacy in scientific courses. This study focuses on the faculty perspectives of this model of instruction and their use of disciplinary literacy in the flipped classroom model.


Chamberlain, M., & Powers, R. (2010). The promise of differentiated instruction for enhancing  mathematical understandings of college students. Teaching Mathematics and Its  Applications, 29, 113-139.
Connor, C., Son, S. H., Hindman, A. H., & Morrison, F. J. (2005). Teacher qualifications,
 classroom practices, family characteristics, and preschool experience: complex
 effects on first graders’ vocabulary and early learning outcomes. Journal of
 School Psychology, 43, 343-375.
den Brok, P., van Tartwijk, J.,Wubbels, T., & Veldman, I. (2010). The differential effect
 of the teacher-student interpersonal relationship on student outcomes for
 students with different ethnic backgrounds. British Journal of Educational
 Psychology, 80(2), 199e221.
Ernest, J.M., K.A. Heckaman, S.E. Thompson, K.M. Hull, & S.W. Carter (2011). Increasing the  teaching efficacy of a beginning special education teacher using differentiated instruction: A
case study. International journal of special education, 26(1), 191-201.
Jonassen, D., & Rohrer-Murphy, L. (1999). Activity theory as a framework for designing
 constructivist learning environments. Educational Technology Research and
 Development, 47(1), 61-79.
Kryza, K., Duncan, A., & Stephens, S.J. (2010). Differentiation for real classrooms: Making it simple, making it work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Pattison, P., J.R. Hale, & P. Gowens (2011). Mind and soul: Connecting with students. Journal of Legal Studies Education, 28(1), 39-66.
Piaget, J. (1971). Genetic epistemology. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Reis, S.M., D.B. McCoach, C.A. Little, L. Muller, & R. Burcu (2010). The effects of  differentiated instruction and enrichment pedagogy on reading achievement in five elementary schools. American Education Research Journal, (48)2, 462-501.
Rosenthal, R. (1994). Interpersonal expectations: A 30-year perspective. Current
 Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 176-179.
Tomlinson, C.A., & J. McTighe (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction and understanding by design: Connecting content and kids. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological
 processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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