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Putting your own personal twist on a flipped organic classroom and selling the idea to students


Ashleigh Prince

11/17/16 to 11/19/16

Do you want to incorporate active learning into your organic lectures, but don’t have the time or resources to start recording your own videos just yet?  If so, there are other alternatives!  While “flipping” any course involves a substantial increase in the workload of the faculty, it also requires that you absolutely sell the idea to your students.  While taking into account student feedback and interest, a traditional two semester organic course was gradually modified throughout the academic year to incorporate additional active learning techniques, such as videos, reading assignments, online quizzes, and classroom activities.  This presentation will focus on my experiences gradually implementing an active learning approach based on student feedback and ideas for getting students on board with this new approach.  In addition, a description of the techniques used will be discussed including several unique hands-on activities for the classroom.  Although results are preliminary, there has been a significant increase in student retention and peer-to-peer engagement, both inside and outside of the classroom.



While attending the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, I listened to numerous presentations on “flipping” your classroom.1  Speaker after speaker enthusiastically praised this student centered approach to teaching that increased both student engagement and retention.  The more I understood, the more I realized that this teaching style is similar to methods I currently use in the classroom…except more refined.  Before leaving Grand Rapids, I was sold on the idea of flipping my classroom.  However, I knew I would also have to overcome two major obstacles:  the immense initial investment of time by the instructor and getting students on board with the idea.  I then set the following goal for myself:  

To gradually “flip” my classroom in a way that best complements my teaching philosophy and my students’ learning styles.   

If I only learned one thing at that conference two years ago, it was that there is no one right way to flip your classroom.  As a matter of fact, most would agree that the opposite case is true.  There are so many options currently available, that it can easily become overwhelming.  PowerPoints, reading assignments, in-class activities, clicker questions, video recording….where does one even start?  The primary objective of this paper is give other faculty who are considering adopting active learning approaches the tools (and the courage) to do so successfully, one step at a time.  A description of my teaching methods prior to incorporating elements of a flipped classroom are discussed, followed by an account of my experiences and rational behind implementing select active learning strategies.  

Figure 1.  Results from students surveys regarding contribution of selected aspects to overall learning of course material during the Fall 2015 – Spring 2016 semesters.  21 Students completed the survey.

Methods:  The Traditional Lecture

So how do you convince students that this new “flipped” method of classroom management is more effective than a traditional lecture?  The simple answer is…you don’t.  It has been my experience that students are considerably more willing to listen to their peers than to take advice from the expert lecturing in the front of the room.  Instead, you must persuade them to convince themselves.  At the end of every semester (and even sometimes throughout the semester), I have students complete anonymous surveys regarding various aspects of the course, then share the results with the class.  Student survey results regarding selected aspects of my organic chemistry course after incorporating various active learning strategies are shown in Figure 1.  

In order to ensure that the majority of students thoughtfully completed the survey, a small amount of extra credit was offered.  A couple of humorous questions are typically included on each survey to entice students to read the results.  Students are also informed that the results will be used to modify future courses, so their honest opinions are appreciated.  

To begin, the results show that 100% of students agree/strongly agree that lectures contributed to their overall learning of the course material.  By golly going to class helps, who would have thought?!?!  In addition to the use of PowerPoints and a whiteboard to introduce material during lecture, I also routinely distribute workshops containing practice problems.  After lecturing for approximately 30 minutes, we usually work a few problems together as a class.  Students then use the remainder of class time to continue working on the workshop.  Prior to the next class period, students are expected to complete the workshop and compare their answers to the key posted online.  Once again, students found this to be a very effective method of learning with 95% of students agreeing/strongly agreeing that workshops are an effective method of learning.  Fewer students take advantage of my office hours and the free tutoring available on campus and thus unfortunately considered those aspects of the course to be less valuable.


Methods:  The Flipped Lecture

In addition to the Likert survey results in Figure 1, students were asked free response questions.  A selection of student comments regarding various course aspects are available in Table 1.  I also asked students what changes they would like to see in the course.  One of the most prevalent responses was to “work more problems together.”  In order to allow more time for problem-solving during class, the traditional paper quizzes given at the end of class on a routine basis were replaced with weekly Blackboard quizzes.  Students were allowed to use their textbook & notes to answer ten multiple choice questions within the hour time limit.  All students received similar, but different questions to discourage cheating.  There was a favorable response to the online quizzes with 85% of students in agreement that these quizzes had a positive impact on their learning of course material.

While the weekly quizzes provided a checkpoint for students, I also wanted to give students the opportunity to gain exposure to the course material prior to lecture.  However, like most faculty at small liberal arts colleges, I routinely have a substantial teaching load so recording my own videos wasn’t a project I had time to undertake.  While looking for alternative options, I was introduced to Khan Academy Videos.2

Table 1.  Sampling of student comments regarding various aspects of course material during the Fall 2015 – Spring 2016 semesters.  21 Students completed the survey.


“The most beneficial part of lecture is when the mechanisms are worked out step by step the board” “Really enjoyed working problems together in class and then going over it step by step to explain what exactly was going on”


“It shows me what I understand and what I need to work on the most”

“It is helpful to make the workshops as difficult as the exam will be”

Online Quizzes

“Kept us fresh and up to date in order to discourage slacking”

“The more relaxed environment helps me to concentrate better”

Khan Academy Videos

“Reinforce what is taught”

“Great way to learn at your own pace”

Reading Assignments

“They really do help focus attention on the important material we go over. It makes me feel more prepared for each lecture”

These were a little rough because you have to do the problems before we learn the material, but I

think it helped a lot”

Synthesis Activity

“Although I found synthesis to be the most interesting, I believe that was also one of the most challenging topics of the semester”

“The synthesis problems were the most interesting because it was like a puzzle”

Review Activity

“My favorite assignment was making the notecards for the final review. I think it was a good exercise to make up my own problems”

“It gave us a good overview of the entire semester by having to come up with questions on our own

to give to other students”


I required students to watch a minimum of thirty minutes of Khan Academy Videos per week, which I could easily monitor online.  As shown in Figure 2, the average amount of hours watched per week fluctuated throughout the semester with higher activity toward the beginning and end of the semester.  The highest week of activity during the two-semester sequence was during week 4 of the Organic I class, which just so happened to correspond with the week that exam 1 was returned to students.  I presume that was quite the wake up call to students.

Figure 2.  The average amount of hours of Khan Academy Videos watched per week during the Fall 2015 – Spring 2016 semesters.

It was suggested to students that they watch videos on topics prior to class, but they were given the freedom to select videos on any topics to watch at any point during the semester.  Thus Khan Academy videos provided a resource for students that allowed them to tailor their learning to their own skill level and allow them to work at their own pace.  Overall, students were pleased with the addition of Khan Academy videos to the course with results showing 77% of students agree/strongly agree that it contributed to their overall learning of course material.  Many textbooks on the market have an option for an interactive web-based assignment and assessment platform, for a price of course.  Having used those programs in the past, both students and I were left dissatisfied.  I feel that a combination of online quizzes and Khan Academy videos are an inexpensive, viable alternative to those costly programs.

After the semester of Organic I was complete, students seemed accepting of the technology-focused course additions (Blackboard quizzes and Khan Academy videos), in addition to the workshops they were already accustomed to.  So what next?  As all organic professors know too well, students routinely struggle with organizing the large amount of material.  Therefore I decided to introduce reading assignments at the beginning of Organic II, with the expectation that it would force students to read the material prior to class, help students get organized, and allow us to have more thought provoking discussions during lecture.  These reading assignments, usually one per week, focused on concepts, reagents, and functional group transformations, while usually leaving the more complex topics of mechanisms and synthesis to focus on during lecture.  Initially, there was a little resistance and students struggled reaching a basic understanding of the material on their own.  Eventually though, by the end of the semester they realized the benefit of such pre-lecture assignments, which even promoted the formation of study groups.


Figure 3.  Example of a solved synthetic problem used to introduce multi-step synthesis as a classroom activity.

One final twist I wanted to add to my “flipped” classroom is the addition of more hands-on activities to promote higher level cognitive thinking during lecture.  I will briefly describe the design of two such activities that have recently been utilized.  I chose to focus my first activity on multi-step synthesis because students have described it as being the most interesting aspect of organic chemistry, yet also the most difficult.  This activity asks students to design synthetic routes using a restricted set of molecules printed on cards, thereby allowing them to focus on pattern recognition instead of falling into the trap of memorization.3  One such example of a completed synthetic scheme is shown in Figure 3.  This scaffolding approach allows students to begin multi-step synthesis with a set of training wheels.  Over time, students gradually stopped using the cards on their own as their confidence level improved and believed that the activity greatly contributed to their overall learning.

Figure 4.  Example of question prompts used as a classroom activity for an end-of-semester review.

After numerous discussions with students, I realized that during study groups students would quiz their classmates with questions they created on their own.  The next activity I designed takes this concept one step further.  Students are given specific prompts and asked to write their own questions, with answers, on note cards.4  The topics on the prompts, as the example in Figure 4 shows, range from simple concepts and predict the products, to more challenging mechanisms and synthesis problems.  Because the prompts are designed to cover topics spanning the entire semester, once completed, the class would have a study guide they wrote themselves.  The students shared their questions with the class and were even able to correct and find the few mistakes that were made on other student-generated questions.  The response to this activity was overwhelmingly positive, with 95% of students agreeing/strongly agreeing that this activity contributed to their learning of organic chemistry.


So the students liked this new (at least new to them) flipped classroom approach, but did it improve their grades?  I compared my average score on the American Chemical Society standardized final exam covering two semesters of organic chemistry before (Spring 2012) and after (Spring 2016) the implementation of active learning strategies (Figure 5).  The median score increased by nine points!  Although the data set is small, the results are very encouraging.  Using student survey responses and ACS exam scores as support, I believe the major advantages to partially flipping your classroom and incorporating active learning methods include:

  • Increased student engagement
  • Allowing students to work at their own pace
  • Classroom time can used for higher order learning activities
  • Instructors have more insight into topics that students find most challenging

Figure 5.  Results from American Chemical Society exam covering two semesters of organic chemistry before (Spring 2012) and after (Spring 2016) the implementation of active learning strategies.  

This article has described methods to successfully incorporate select elements of a flipped classroom ranging from online technology to hands-on activities.  This was accomplished using freely available Khan Academy videos instead of going through a time-intensive process of recording my own videos.  Student surveys were used to gauge the preferences of the students and then shared with class thereby persuading students to convince themselves that an active learning model is preferable to the traditional lecture.  However, if students are not willing to invest the time in preparing for lecture by watching videos, completing reading assignments, and taking notes, they will inevitably be lost during classroom activities and are likely to become frustrated with the course structure.  Future plans include exploring additional modifications to the course structure with the intent of shifting study habits from larger chunks of time on an infrequent basis to a more preferred smaller chunks of time everyday approach.  I also would like to see students watching videos prior to lecture on a more routine and are likely to become frustrated with the course structure.  

Future plans include exploring additional modifications to the course structure with the intent of shifting study habits from larger chunks of time on an infrequent basis to a more preferred smaller chunks of time everyday approach.  I also would like to see students watching videos prior to lecture on a more routine basis.  In addition, I also plan on introducing a similar active learning approach to my freshman students by adopting it in my general chemistry courses.  I have no plans on recording my own videos in the near future or completely eliminating lectures all together from my courses.  I believe that certain topics, such as advanced mechanisms and synthesis, are better explained in a traditional lecture format.  I encourage any instructor who is interested in active learning methods to personalize their methodology and listen to student feedback.  Don’t feel overwhelmed by the initial challenge, but instead take your time to merge some active learning approaches into your current teaching philosophy.  Again, there is no one right way to flip your classroom.  

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to answering any questions.

Works Cited

  3. Prince, A., Lady, S. Introducing Multi-step Synthesis Using a Scaffolding Approach. Manuscript in preparation.
  4. Prince, A., Lady, S. Design Your Own Study Guide: An Active Learning Project for Organic Courses. Manuscript in preparation.


I would like to thank the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Lincoln Memorial University, especially my students over the last several years, for their continuous support and encouragement.  




Thanks for sharing your paper describing your innovative class activities with us.  I remember hearing from several of the speakers in the flipped classroom symposium at the 2014 BCCE that they avoided using the term flipping with their students.  Did you choose to use the term with your class?  


Hi Jennifer,

That's a great question.  I also remember hearing those same comments from several speakers.

I chose not to use the term "flipped."  In fact, I don't use any pedagogy terms in front of students.  I think that most would agree that organic students have enough organic chemistry to learn...concepts, predicting major products, mechanisms, synthesis, spectroscopy, etc.... Why try to explain more than you need to?

Instead, I focus on getting them to understand how to get the most out of a 50-minute class.  "Do you want me to read definitions off a powerpoint slide? Or would you rather work additional (and more challenging) problems during class?"  Once they realize the benefits of working more problems together, I explain that in order to do so effectively you must come to class prepared to work problems.  Which means you have to lay some of the groundwork beforehand by reading the textbook sections and watching assigned videos.  This part is usually a tougher idea to sell.

I also use a similar approach for teaching general chemistry, which really helps.  In my experience, freshman are more receptive to change.  A lot of my freshman simply think that's how a college chemistry course is supposed to be because they don't know any different.  By the time they take organic with me, they are already sold on the "flipped" approach without me ever having to use the term.

Thanks again for the question,



I just wanted to add a bit to Ashleigh's reply about using the term "flipped" with students.  Sorry if I'm overstepping.  I have been using POGIL in my prep chem course for about 10 years, and I would agree that it's best not to use the term "flipped" or anything like that with the students.  I think for some students they think it's an experiment or something and it start things off on a bad note.  I use an activity the first day of class that covers a little bit of subject matter and some questions the format of the class, how the activities are structured, and how and why students can work together in teams to learn the material (but no jargon).  I use that activity to show the students that some material can be learned without me telling them.  The most common question I get from students is "How will we know if it's right?"  .  And they do want to know it's correct.  I tell the students that if everyone on the team has the same answer it is probably correct since it's unlikely that they would arrive at the same wrong answer.  They can hash things out as a team or ask the instructor (me) for guidance.  I think the key (at least in my course) is to take the time periodically to reassure the students who don't think they can learn in that setting that they in fact can.  But not to get jargony.  I hope that was somewhat helpful.


Thank you all for your interesting and really imformative papers. I learn so much from these papers.   Since Lou mentioned he was using POGIL, I just want to give a shout out for using the materials and methods developed by this project.  I used them in my high school chemistry class and they are the most successful activities in giving students a real sense of ownership of the material.  Students do struggle with "is this the right answer?" or "is this the answer I need to pass the test?"! Re-assuring students about their own abilities, together with good reporting out strategies allow for students to not only compare their answers within the class but help to correct them without always requiring teacher input.  

Ashleigh --

I very much appreciate seeing the ACS test scores that measure results versus a recognized standard.

As a part of your “pre-class reading assignments,” to you suggest they make flashcards on the content?

In the book, “Make It Stick:  The Science of Successful Learning,” (Harvard Univ. Press 2015), cognitive scientists McDaniel and Roediger recommend asking students to make flashcards that “interleave practice.”  One kind of card might show reactant and product, but leave out the reagent; the other type might show reactant and reagent, but leave out the product.  

In your figure 3, “interleaving” the problem would alternate “they fill in the reagent” with “you supply the reagent and they fill in the product.”

How much advice does the current generation of students need on how to study?  To what extent is learning organic like how yoiu would learn a foreign language?

-- rick nelson

Hi Rick,

I agree.  I feel like the ACS test scores provide a more reliable method for comparison than course letter grades.

In addition to videos, I also strongly urge students to flashcards to help them organize the course content.  Most students find the notecards to be very beneficial.

I routinely write "interleaving" questions on exams, but have never used the cards that way.  That's a great idea.

It's been my experience that students struggle on the first couple of exams during organic because they don't know how to study for the course.  There are no equations like there were in general chemistry, so they can't rely on their math skills.  Biology courses they have been accusomed to require much more memorization.  While there is some memorization necessary in organic chemistry, the course is geared more toward problem-solving and application.  Once they realize that organic chemistry requires different study strategies, students generally feel more comfortable and grades increase.

Most foreign language courses start with learning vocabulary.  I would equate that to learning concepts in organic chemistry, including resonance, acid-base reactions, stereochemistry, etc... Once you have mastered vocabulary, you can start understanding short phrases/sentences and recognizing patterns (similar to mechanisms).  Only then can you start reading and writing longer paragraphs...multi-step synthesis.

Thanks for the questions and comments.



I'm a physical organic chemist, so I'm a stickler for correctness on reaction mechanisms.  When I've reviewed Khan Academy videos of organic chemistry topics in the past, I was horrified that fishhook arrows were routinely used for all mechanisms.  Someone mentioned that they've been updating their videos.  Can you tell me whether the mechanism videos on Khan Academy these days are better at following conventions with their mechanism arrows?  Thanks.




That is certainly a valid concern.  I'm also a stickler for mechanisms and include them on every exam, even though my background is synthetic organic chemistry.  I've only been using Khan Academy Videos for about two years.  I've never had a problem with students drawing fishhook arrows when they shouldn't, so I would assume that issue has been corrected.  


bmccollum's picture

Ashleigh, thank you for sharing your experiences with a flipped instructional approach.  I currently flip general chemistry using LibreTexts ( and I flipped organic with a commerical textbook.  I've avoided using videos in my flipped classes in order to promote stronger reading habits, but I have peers in other disciplines that have done the opposite and completely eliminated the course textbook.

You mentioned that in your approach students could use their textbooks during the online Blackboard quizzes.  Do you have any information on how much the students were reading during the term, or if the videos were their primary information source?  I'm curious how much student self-regulate between text and videos when both media are available.

There is evidence that you can use a standard text rather than videos to flip, but to make it work usually requires that you add material to help students “read with comprehension.”  Three assists: 

First, for each section, identify new vocabulary, ask them to flashcard the words and their precise definitions.  Second, type up and assign “clicker questions” to answer after every few paragraphs.  Third, give frequent short quizzes on the vocab and clicker questions.

I do a decent amount of reading in “instructional design for science courses,” which has become an area of scientific specialization in the past 10 years.  Books in the field advise that “subject matter specialists always overestimate the scope of new material that students can assimilate without stopping to drive new vocabulary and procedures into memory.”  Chem textbooks are great review if you know (or only need "refreshing your memory" on) 90% of the material, but they need to be digested in small chunks to work for initial learning. When vocabulary or content is new to students, the "working memory" where we reason can quickly be overwhelmed.

Verbatim definitions are important because, for example, though students have a good operational, “gist” definition of “temperature” (they often know how warm a coat they need?), the definition instructors want may be “a measure of the average kinetic energy of molecules.” Chem can be a foreign language with precise non-obvious vocabulary.  The human brain is designed to pick up operational definitions by exposure to words (that is why we learn to speak instinctively as children without schooling), but recall of verbatim information requires repeated effort at recall, spaced over time.  (Search “gist vs verbatim” for more info.)

- rick nelson


Like Brett, I flip organic by having my students read the book.  A big part of the reason behind my decision is that I don't like to watch videos (maybe due to slow internet at home), and I wasn't psyched about making videos.  Another reason for my choice is that students need help developing the skills to read technical material.  My approach is consistent with Rick's observations that students need help to read the textbook.  I assign warm-up questions to help them recognize the major points.  The discussions we have in class are much richer when we can talk about the difficult parts of the concepts and work rather than me giving definitions and examples.  Like you and the other person who chimed in about the term flipping, I don't mention the term to my students.  I think some young faculty members or others new to pedagogical adventures sometimes use the term with their students.  Occasionally those students rebel because they think they are being subject to experimentation.  And they don't like the extra work!

You mention that you require students to watch 30 minutes of videos each week.  Do you specify which videos they should watch?  From what you said in a previous comment, I wasn't sure.  You say that you can monitor their video watching habits.  What technology do you use to accomplish that?




The academic skills center at Dartmouth has some outstanding resources on helping students read. Some the information provided is quite startling

bmccollum's picture

Thanks for the great resources Pamela.  I use the SQ3R method (posted on the Dartmouth site).  Students who follow it have reported better memory of the material, and some have begun using it in their other studies.  I appreciate Rick and Jennifer's comments about helping students to read.  The main struggle I have on that issue is that my students often need to fall short of their goal before they are ready to take my advise on reading / metacognitive study techniques.

Ashleigh, when your students are problem solving in the room, do they load the videos and rewatch content to remind themselves how to do a problem?  Or, are they more likely to use their textbook and each other in the classroom setting?  I find that mine always have their textbooks out, and are referring back to the reading.  They've also been more receptive to team problem solving since I've been doing reading circles at the start of each class.


Thanks for sharing the LibreText resourse!

When students are problem solving during class, they typically rely on their textbook, fellow classmates, or they ask me questions for clarification.  If they get stuck on a problem after class, I've noticed that most students prefer to watch (or rewatch) a video before using their textbook.

I also do team problem solving activities on a routine basis.  Some classes are more receptive to this than others.  Can you tell me more about "reading circles?"



bmccollum's picture

Attached is a handout I've used when talking about ARCs (Academic reading circles).  I used both reading circles, and the more formal ARC structure, in 1st and 2nd year chem.  The key is getting students to open up to their peers about the reading, so that they reveal their weak points and strengthen them as a team.



I wasn't interested in making videos either; however, I noticed that students liked to watch YouTube videos.  Instead of them watching whatever videos they find from unreliable sources, I would prefer them use Khan Academy.  One of the advantages to using Khan Academy is that you can "add a class" and have students register for your class.  This allows you to monitor what videos they watch, when they watch them, how long they spend watching them.

Occasionally I choose specific videos that need to watched before class.  Otherwise, students are responsible for watching videos on topics they feel they need extra help with.  Students generally like this little bit of freedom and I like that it teaches them to be more responsible for their own education.

Like you, I'm also a big proponent of reading the textbook.  While some pre-class assignments involve watching videos, others involve reading the textbook.  My reading assignment questions from the textbook typically focus on looking up the reagents we will be discussing, determining the functional group transformations, and describing the corresponding mechanisms (which involves definitions).

The bottom line is I came to every class prepared to lecture, and I hold my students to the same standard...they need to come prepared to learn (which includes discussing the material and working examples).  That prepartion involves a mix of videos, reading assignments, and occasionally review questions.

Thanks for the question and additional comments!


I don't have any statistical data on how often students were reading their textbook.  Solely based on conversations with students, most of them read on a regular basis, just not always before class.  However, one of the reasons I allow them to use their to textbook during the online multiple choice quizzes is to encourage them to read the sections and use the textbook as a source of information.  I've noticed that some students want to rely solely on the instructor as the only source of information.  In addition, I also try to use figures from their textbook whenever possible during class.

Hi Brett

I noticed that at least some of the chapters you are using come from the Libre-Text that Scott Sinex, Scott Johnson and I put together for a GChem for Engineers course.  I am smiling from ear to ear about this. Please, please, anyone, if you have additions, corrections, suggestions, whatever get in touch with me at  The more that contribute to the Libre Texts the better they will become.  There are also simple ways, much like Brett has done, of building your own text out of individual sections from different Libre Texts.

FWIW if there are any materials scientists out there Scott Sinex and I will be giving talks Monday 28 November at the MRS Fall Meeting on the Libre Text and open on line educational resources.  



Just another thumbs up for LibreText - I switched to LibreText this fall from using materials elsewhere and have been very happy with it

Layne Morsch's picture

I wanted to post an alternative view to explaining pedagogies to students. I have been using Flipped learning in my organic chemistry classes for the last 3 years.

I will typically explain what flipped learning is to my students on the first day. My main reason for doing so is that I want to be clear that the expectations are different for this class than typical lecture classes, rather than hope that they figure that out along the way. I also relate data (my own and from journals) that show that students that work hard at flipped learning can improve success in organic chem. I actually do quite a bit of talk about learning in the course. Since most of my students are not chemistry majors, I routinely am trying to explain to them how organic chemistry is teaching them useful skills that will be applied later in life even though they may never be asked to draw out a Diels-Alder mechanism. I hope that this avoids the feeling that this course is just some hoop they have to jump through or is some kind of weed out class.

I have created all my own videos for the course, and the students are assigned a specific group of videos (along with readings in the LibreText - formerly ChemWiki) to prepare for each day of class. We begin every class with an open notes quiz based on those videos and readings.





My approach is very similar to yours in terms of openness.  We do differ in terms of video usage.  I tell the students we are using Just-in-Time Teaching and I describe the pedagogical literature.  But I neglect to ever mention the word flipping.  Do you use that term with your students?


Catherine Welder's picture

Layne, thanks for your comments!  I am currently recording short video lectures in preparation for a full flip of Organic II this summer.  I want to tell students what I'm doing and why, but so many experienced with active learning advise against it.  I'm glad to hear your perspective.  I'm trying to figure out how to hold students accountable for watching the videos.  I like the idea of an open notes quiz at the beginning of class. 

I use PlayPosit with my videos for accountability.  With LTI, the scores on the video lessons are recorded in Canvas.  All together, they are worth only 5% of the grade and we've had 50-60 this semester (I have a 10 minute rule on all videos) with the lowest four getting dropped. Even though the points per video is very small, it's enough to motivate students.


Layne Morsch's picture

Here is my logic for the open notes quiz.

I began by having embedded questions in the quizzes, but some students reported skipping to the questions then trying to go back and just learn the answers to those questions.

So, I considered why I want to have quizzes, it is so that students keep up with the material learning in smaller bits spread over more sessions (as opposed to cramming, which many seem to prefer).

What I really want is for students to interact with the videos and text before coming to class so that when I ask them to solve problems, they have seen the material before and therefore have reduced cognitive load (vs. trying to learn and apply the concepts at the same time). If they take notes on the video and text and try to make them "good" notes that will be useful when the quizzes come, they will learn the material better and be better able to apply it to in-class problems.