You are here

2014 Spring ConfChem: Flipped Classroom

05/09/14 to 06/12/14
Jennifer Muzyka, Centre College ( and Chris Luker, Highland Local Schools, (


  1. Student Engagement with Flipped Chemistry Lectures
  2. Support for Experiments in Flipping: Timesaving Resources Aligned with Cognitive Science
  3. Reclaiming Face Time: How an Organic Chemistry Flipped Classroom Provided Access to Increased Guided Engagement
  4. Using a Blog to Flip the Classroom
  5. Flipping at an Open-Enrollment College
  6. Flipping a Class, the Learn by Doing Method
  7. Improving Student Engagement in Organic Chemistry using the Inverted Classroom Model
  8. Just-in-Time Teaching in Chemistry Courses with Moodle


Among educational practice there has been significant attention on the flipped classroom, which is an innovative pedagogical method used by K-12 to college and university educators. There are many different approaches to implementing a flipped classroom. In particular, some educators pre-record lectures of themselves presenting material, others use screen casts to convey information to students before attending class in order to facilitate more peer-to-peer learning, and some teachers use a flipped classroom approach that does not involve videos. Ultimately, the shift in learning is focused on changing the classroom from passive to active.

The purpose of the symposium is to present papers on the flipped classroom and its development of flipped learning. Although some authors are invited to discuss the technical aspects of the flipped classroom, the focus of our symposium will be about how teachers use the face-to-face class time gained by changing from a completely lecture based classroom. Please join the discussion during this symposium as we explore the wide variety of approaches with the authors and other members of the chemical education and flipped classroom communities.

Conference Articles

Abstracts of Papers:

Michael K Seery, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland


This project introduces the idea of "flipped lecturing" to a group of my second year students. The aim of flipped lecturing is to provide much of the "content delivery" of lecture in advance, so that the lecture hour can be devoted to more in-depth discussion, problem solving, etc. As well as development of the material, a formal evaluation is being conducted.

Fifty-five students from year 2 Chemical Thermodynamics module took part in this study. Students were provided with online lectures in advance of their lectures. Along with each online lecture, students were given a handout to work through as they watch the video. Each week, a quiz was completed before each lecture, which allowed students to check their understanding and provided a grade for their continuous assessment mark.

The evaluation is examining both the students’ usage of materials and their engagement in lectures. This involves analysis of access statistics along with an in-class cognitive engagement instrument. The latter is measured by "interrupting" students as they work through a problem and asking four short questions which are drawn from another study, which aim to examine how students were engaging with the materials in that moment.

Results from this, along with access data, quiz scores, and student comments, aim to build up a profile of how the flipped lecture works for middle stage undergraduate students.

Dr. Judith Ann Hartman, United States Naval Academy
Dr. Donald J. Dahm, Rowan University
Eric Nelson, Fairfax County Public Schools (retired)


Recent research in cognitive science has revolutionized our understanding of how the brain solves problems.  This paper will review how characteristics of “working memory” favor a model of instruction in which students “automate the fluent retrieval of elements of core knowledge” during study time.  This frees class time for instructors to guide active learning:  Inquiry, demonstrations, and discussions that move students toward the conceptual framework of experts.  Evidence will be offered this alignment of instruction with human cognitive architecture results in improved student outcomes.

Instructors deserve time-saving support for experiments with “flipped” lessons.  This paper will describe available materials that support flipping in both “college preparatory” and general chemistry courses.  By applying research in reading comprehension, these “notes with clicker questions” move a portion of lecture content to homework - a convenient alternative to videotaping lectures.  Also noted will be instructional strategies that encourage students to complete homework in a timely manner.

Work will be described that remains to be done in cataloging activities that build conceptual understanding in different first-year levels and instructional settings.  Readers will be invited to participate in suggesting and testing proposals for active learning that ease the burden on instructors during their initial semesters of a cognitive-science-based flip.

Bridget G. Trogden, Mercer University; Macon, GA


Affording adequate time for students in organic chemistry to engage with material is a constant struggle for those teaching the course.  By using the flipped classroom model, students have more time in class to process information in the presence of the professor, while course content is not sacrificed.  This paper will discuss what it means to ‘flip a classroom,’ how the classroom time can be restructured, and how these changes improve student success rates.  In addition to presenting some alternative ways for flipping, this paper will also address the best means for implementation and how the flipped classroom ties into current research for cognitive theory.


January Haile, Centre College, Danville, KY


Just in Time Teaching is a technique where students read the material before class and respond to a few questions via an online interface.  The instructor will then develop the class for that material around the students’ responses.  In a first year seminar course, The Chemistry of Food, students were assigned to maintain blogs for the entire 16-day term.  In order to create an online learning community, the instructor’s blog in lieu of a quiz was utilized as a forum to assign the readings and pose questions about the readings.  The comments on the instructor blog, as well as individual student posts, were utilized to develop the classroom discussion; moreover, many of the readings were not discussed in class but entirely online.  Many students who would not normally participate in class were more than willing to participate online; thus, this approach provided the class discussion with more variety and greater input from the students. 

Kelly B. Butzler, Pennsylvania College of Technology


The flipped classroom is a blended, constructivist-learning environment that reverses where students gain and apply knowledge.  Many instructors from K-12 to college level are excited about the prospect of flipping their classes, but are unsure how and with which students to implement this learning environment.  Many instructors at competitive colleges and universities as well as those who teach higher-level secondary students report increases in achievement and satisfaction in the flipped classroom.  However, there has been little discussion regarding flipping the classroom with students who are less academically prepared specifically those students at open-enrollment colleges.  The author found that many students at an open-enrollment college disliked the flipped classroom even though the overall test averages were similar to previous semester tests.  Open enrollment college student perceptions were found to differ from that reported by instructors in Advanced Placement high school chemistry classes or chemistry at competitive colleges and universities.  Students reported that the technology used to deliver content and the overall flipped structure hindered their learning and suggested that the flipped classroom was the reason for lower than expected grades.  The focus of this paper is to provide the reader with insights about flipping a general chemistry class at an open-enrollment college where the mathematics level and academic preparedness are much different from students at competitive universities.  The author will provide student comments on the flipped classroom as well as changes that provided students with more structure and autonomy support.  

Steven Slezak, California Polytechnic State University


Two major advantages of the flipped classroom format are that it allows for greater flexibility in the use of class time and it enhances the quality and quantity of one-on-one teaching encounters between faculty and students. There are as many varieties of the flipped format as there are educators using it, so experience varies from classroom to classroom. What is important is that the format should emphasize active learning on the part of the students, empowering them to take responsibility for the learning process. The teacher’s role becomes one of facilitator or coach. In my experience, the flipped classroom method combines lecture videos which students view before coming to class with class time reserved for problem-solving exercises, Just-in-Time teaching utilizing reading forums and customized teacher feedback, Peer Learning, case work and discussions, writing exercises, and performing online exercises and research. As a result, class time is better structured, and I can address special concerns and weaknesses expressed by individual students about the material. I have more interaction with individual students during class and can provide one-on-one instruction in short bursts to students hung up on a particular problem or application. Interaction with students provides feedback, so I can perform real-time assessments of student skill levels and mastery of the material, and I can adjust the curriculum and the pace of the class accordingly. Students also benefit from the ability to watch lectures on their own time, pausing the recording to work on lecture problems, and repeat difficult sections for better understanding. The major disadvantages of the flipped classroom format are student pushback and resistance to active learning methods, the amount of prep work that must be done to produce video lectures and to prepare assignments for each class session, the need for quick turnaround of in-class assignments for student assessment purposes, and the lack of quality support available to educators who wish to employ the approach.

Robert D. Rossi, Gloucester County College


Improving student engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses generally, and organic chemistry specifically, has long been a challenging goal for educators.  In fact the academically demanding nature of organic chemistry has, many times, the unintended consequence of disengaging students, particularly those that don’t immediately see the relevance of the subject matter to their field of study. 

Recently educator’s at all academic levels are exploring the “inverted classroom” or “flipped classroom” pedagogical model for improving student engagement in subjects spanning the fields from liberal arts to business studies to science and technology.  This learner-centered pedagogy, where students are responsible for understanding fundamental course concepts outside the classroom, allows class time to be more productively used for higher level engaging activities such as collaborative and problem-based learning through the instructor led application of the material delivered outside of class. 

This paper describes the techniques used to accomplish and the technology employed to deliver an inverted two semester organic chemistry classroom at Gloucester County College. It will also explain and show how each semester topics were divided and presented to the students, and discuss the use of classroom face-to-face time during the semester.   Preliminary student performance data vs. the traditional lecture classroom format along with student comments about the inverted classroom approach are also presented.

Jennifer Muzyka, Centre College, Danville, KY


In the Just-in-Time Teaching approach, a faculty member assigns readings to students before every class.  After the students have done the daily reading, they access a short reading quiz on a course management system (e.g., Moodle).  The faculty member uses student responses to the quiz in the preparation of the day's class material and is able to tailor his or her explanations to target specific student questions or confusion.  This paper describes the use of this approach to engage students in chemistry classes at Centre College.

Justin Houseknecht, Matthew Stoltzfus & Robert E. Belford


During the course of this online conference participants were invited to contribute a virtual poster to the final discussion. Three posters were submitted, and this paper presents those posters and their discussions.

Poster 1:  A Year of Organic Chemistry Group Work with iPads, by Justin Houseknecht.
Poster2:   Implementing Peer Instruction in a Flipped General Chemistry Classroom, by Matthew Stoltzfus
Poster 3:  Can Flipping Introduce New Cognitive Artifacts to the Classroom?, by Robert E. Belford.