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From lectures to flipped classroom Q&A sessions

By Maarten Duijvendak and Jan Willem Drijvers, History department
Maarten Duijvendak
Maarten Duijvendak
Jan Willem Drijvers
Jan Willem Drijvers

Lectures are an acknowledged and efficient way to introduce large groups of (first year) students to basic subject matter and basic insights. Within the Bachelor of History programme, we use the video recordings of a series of lectures made last year as the start of a weekly flipped classroom question-and-answer session in Blackboard Collaborate. Our approx. 160-170 first-year students prepare for the sessions by watching the recordings, answering questions about the content, and asking questions themselves. During the sessions, we discuss these questions and challenge students to come up with more questions and comments based on the material from the lectures and the handbook for the week in question. These Q&A sessions usually last an hour. They are recorded and can be viewed by students at a later time, just as the video recordings.

Before the Q&A

We have used last year's video recordings for two series of lectures in different ways. In one case, students watch the entire recording every week. Year-specific information in the lecture about exams etc. has been cut out. In the other case, each recording is cut into six or seven topical info-clips. In both cases, students prepare a number of questions that serve as the starting point and structure of the question-and-answer session that takes place at the time the lecture is scheduled. In addition, we make supplementary material available on Nestor, such as PowerPoint presentations, videos about subjects that cannot be discussed in the lectures or seminars, and videos under the heading 'nice to know'.

Part of the list with educational clips in the course
Part of the list with educational clips in the course

During the Q&A

Interaction in Collaborate remains limited and difficult. However, we do notice that many students are fairly well prepared, have read the material, and have made questions. We discuss the questions via the chat function - students type in their answers and the teacher responds verbally. Students can also answer by raising their hand in Collaborate and turning on their microphone. The latter is preferable with such large groups, because it is often difficult to keep track of all chats while at the same time leading the session. We do not have a teaching assistant for support and technology. We have also refrained from working with breakout groups, as with these numbers of participants this quickly becomes messy.

Students’ experiences

At various times we asked the students in Collaborate about their experiences. We receive many positive icons in response to this question. The students are positive and a large group actively participates. There is a decline in participation over the seven weeks, perhaps due to the possibility of watching the sessions afterwards.

We had expected the students to appreciate the shorter info-clips above the integral lecture recordings. After having asked the students, this seems to be the case to some extent. For some students 'the shorter the better' clearly applies, but the storylines in the complete lectures were mentioned as a strong element missing in the info-clips.

In general, the flipped classroom Q&A session is experienced as very useful, but also as heavier compared to passive listening to a lecture. The exam results this year have improved compared to previous years, but the reason for this cannot be identified with certainty.

Additional information

Read more about the Flipped Classroom model here.

Clipping previous lecture recordings is a service provided by AV Services. If you would like to use such clips in your course, you can contact them via avservices rug.nl. They will also ensure that you can easily upload the different clips to your Nestor course.

Last modified:04 June 2021 12.07 p.m.
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