Flipping Calculus | About the Grant
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Flipping Calculus | About the Grant

Project Summary

The purpose of Flipping Calculus is to transform the teaching and learning of Calculus by inverting traditional instruction and incorporating pedagogical practices that are steeped in our understanding of how students learn most effectively. Flipping a course describes an instructional approach in which the delivery of a majority of the content is moved outside of class, via online videos, lecture notes, and readings, while "homework," such as problem sets, labs, and applications, often completed in small groups, is shifted into the classroom. In a flipped course, students have the ability to access prerecorded presentations and problem solutions before class on an array of mobile devices and can pause, rewind, and fast-forward these videos, so they have more control over their own learning. More importantly, as there is little time spent lecturing, instructors in flipped courses are free to devote class time to supporting small groups of students who are engaged in collaborative discussion and problem-solving.

The primary objectives of Flipping Calculus are to:

  • Create a complete library of brief, engaging videotaped lessons or screencasts of key concepts and worked solutions to problems for our Calculus I course. Expected outcomes are that students will better understand key calculus concepts and skills as they have the ability to view, and review, course videotapes on demand.
  • Develop, adapt and refine meaningful guided problem sets and discussion questions to be completed by students working in small groups during class meetings. Expected outcomes are that students will be more adept at applying their knowledge of calculus as a result of more time spent working collaboratively in class under the guidance of a faculty member.
  • Develop, adapt, and refine short assessments to evaluate students' understanding of out-of-class readings and videotaped presentations. These assessments will allow us to gauge the extent to which students are making sense of content they view outside of class.
  • Flip half of the sections of Calculus I during fall 2012 which would involve the participation of approximately 120 students.
  • Conduct an exploratory study of instructor and student perceptions of the flipped Calculus course, as well as student outcomes in the flipped vs. traditional sections of Calculus I. The data generated will be useful as we continue to refine our model of flipping Calculus in subsequent semesters.
  • Create a website for flipping calculus on which we will post our videos, course materials and reflections on lessons learned. By sharing our work publicly, we can share our model of flipping and begin to form a network of mathematics faculty interested in transforming their instruction.

Intellectual Merit: The proposed project activities are based on research on how students learn and are designed to actively engage students in Calculus, so they are able to understand, remember and apply the skills and concepts they learn. This project builds on the past and current innovations of the PIs and the entire mathematics department at the University of Hartford.

Broader Impact: This project will involve at least six mathematics faculty members and could directly impact more than 200 students during the first year of the project and upwards of 300 students in year two. We will extend the impact of this project by presenting at regional and national conferences, sharing the videotapes and problem sets, labs and discussion questions on a website dedicated to flipping calculus, and publishing articles in mathematics education journals.

Project Description

The purpose of the proposed project, Flipping Calculus, is to implement flipping pedagogy in Calculus I and conduct an exploratory study of its effectiveness. In particular, we will create a set of curriculum materials designed specifically for the flipped Calculus classroom and implement flipping pedagogy in half of our sections of Calculus I. The curriculum materials will include (1) concept videos or screencasts that provide an out-of-class introduction to new material with, when possible, embedded reasons to know the content, (2) guided problem sets and good questions to engage students in learning mathematics with peer and instructor support in class, and (3) assessments including quizzes and homework problem sets to provide more opportunities for practice and feedback on student performance. Student and instructor data will be collected from both flipped and non-flipped sections of Calculus to identify the benefits and challenges of this pedagogy and its impact on student understanding.




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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF:DUE-TUES #1245059

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.