Flipped Classroom Method To Be Tried In All Faculties

FRIDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2014 15:13

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Abd Ra’ai Osman

BANGI, 8 September 2014 – Every faculty, centre and institute at The National University of Malaysia (UKM) have been urged to try using the Flipped Classroom method and Blended learning under a new campaign launched here today.

UKM Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said he was very impressed by the results of the innovation used by several lecturers at the faculties of Education and Social Sciences and Humanities that he agreed that the method be tried out in all faculties.

Launching ‘The Campaign For Blended Learning, Pilot Project For Flipped Learning And MOOC For Ethnic Relations’, Prof Noor Azlan expects some resistance to it as every new idea will meet certain objections.

Nonetheless every faculty would be implementing the Flipped Learning method one way or another under the campaign.

Prof Noor Azlan said: “everything has conventions that are hard to set aside. Work always follows the standard operating procedures but we should also start challenging the conventional.”

The Flipped Classroom is a form of blended learning in which students learn by watching video lectures on their own time. Assignments are done in class with teachers offering guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing.

Blended Learning is a mixture of online instructions and formal attendance of classes or lectures. MOOC means massive open online course aimed at a global participation and open access via the web.

One of the proponents of Flipped Learning is  Language expert Associate Professor Dr Raihanah Mohd Mydin who found marked improvements in the attitudes of her students when they were allowed to learn through the internet and videos at flexible hours.

Dr Raihanah said students who studied on their own time outside the classroom were better motivated and showed more interest in their formal curriculum than when they are required to stick to strict lecture timetables.

She explained the system after the launch and her reflections about it after using it in two semesters. She said she decided to try something more open with the students because they were becoming stifled by the traditional methods of learning.

She was recently awarded the ‘Outstanding Teaching Award for Literature and Social Science by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak for her teaching method which has significantly improved students achievements at UKM.

Dr Raihanah said it was necessary to use a more flexible form of teaching and learning because some of her students found it hard to attend lectures on time.

“The seminars or lectures were recorded so that the students could view them on their own time. My students range from full-time teachers to full-time twenty-somethings,” she said.

They either did not have the time to come to lectures because they were working full-time or they arrived 15 minutes late because they had to rush between buildings. So they became disinterested when they missed something for not attending lectures.

The students viewed instructional videos given to them or online before and after lectures to study and thus spend less time at lectures. But they still needed to attend lectures especially when trying to get answers from the lecturers.

“My task was to facilitate and scaffold their learning,” that is she provided support to students who were not clear about their lessons.

Her recorded lectures usually take the form of power-point and  screencast-o-matic presentations. Apart from that there are many relevant videos on Youtube which the students could refer to.

The Vice-Chancellor described Dr Raihanah as courageous for being brave enough to challenge convention and start something out of the ordinary. More importantly, it worked and is thus worth trying out at every faculty, centres, institutes and departments in UKM.

Present at the launch was Prof Mohamed Amin Embi, the main proponent of Flipped Learning and MOOC. He is Director for the Centre For Teaching and Learning Technology and Deputy Director (e-Learning), Centre of Academic Advancement in UKM.