Southeastern Section - 63rd Annual Meeting (10–11 April 2014)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:35 PM


SLIKO, Jennifer, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA 17057, MEYER, Michael, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, Western Carolina University, 331 Stillwell Hall, Cullowhee, NC 28723 and TORMEY, Blair R., Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723,

“Flipped” or inverted classes involve having the students learn new material outside of the classroom and work on activities or discussions reinforcing that material while in class. Effectively, traditional ‘lecture’ material is covered as homework and traditional ‘homework’ assignments are covered in the classroom. The perceived benefit of this style of classroom management is that, through classroom activities, students use more complex domains of education activities (such as apply, analyze, evaluate, or discuss) to learn the new subject material.

In a flipped classroom, students must read new material and/or watch a prerecorded lecture video presentation prior to coming to class. This can be problematic in introductory or non-major classes, as students often expect to do minimal work outside of class. Unlike a traditional lecture-style class, unprepared students in a flipped class are often confused in class and have trouble completing the class assignments. Unless the student to professor ratio is extremely low, this confusion often leads to frustration and ultimately a general disinterest in the class material.

Here we examine student performance in flipped and traditional-style classes from non-major, introductory environmental geology classes. During this trial, students completed anonymous pre- and post-activity assessments for each topic, in addition to completing a post-semester assessment. Results of statistical analyses show that students learn the same basic geologic concepts in both flipped and traditional lecture classes. Additionally, despite a perceived dislike of the flipped classroom management style during the semester, students rated this style higher than traditional lecture courses in post-semester assessments. These results suggest that the flipped classroom management should be further utilized in introductory geoscience courses.