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MIT Prof Uses MOOC To Flip Classroom

A professor at MIT has used the videos for the massive open online course (MOOC) version of his Visualizing Japan course to flip the classroom-based version of the same course.

The professor, Shigeru Miyagawa, co-taught the MOOC, Visualizing Japan (1850s-1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity, on the edX platform with three other instructors from MIT, Harvard and Duke University. According to a news release from MIT, the online course was very successful, with "a completion rate of 13 percent — double the normal for a MOOC — and 97.5 percent of the learners said that they were satisfied to extremely satisfied with the course."

When Miyagawa began teaching the classroom version of the course, he planned on teaching with the traditional lecture format and came to class with a PowerPoint presentation prepared. Shortly into the lecture he asked the students a question and was surprised when everybody seemed to know the answer already. When Miyagawa discovered that the students had already watched the video lecture, he abandoned his PowerPoint presentation and spent the rest of the class discussing the material with his students.

Miyagawa continued to use the flipped format for the majority of the classes, reverting to the traditional lecture format for just a few to introduce additional material. According to MIT, the MOOC videos became a new form of textbook for the course because the students found the videos easy to follow and their short length and accompanying exercises helped students retain the information. When they came to class, Miyagawa used the time to delve deeper into the material.

In his flipped classes, Miyagawa spoke only 50 percent of the time, compared to 80 percent of the time in his traditional lecture classes. According to information from MIT, "the flipped class increased student participation and led to a qualitatively richer and more fun educational experience."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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