Flipping the University Mathematics Classroom

A Gateway to Lifelong Learning

Robert Talbert, Grand Valley State University / @RobertTalbert / +RobertTalbert

Workshop on Innovations in University Mathematics Teaching

Cardiff University School of Mathematics, 7 July 2014



Flipped learning and lifelong learning

Self-Regulated Learning

Flipped learning in calculus

Lessons learned from flipping

Flipped learning and lifelong learning

Traditional Learning Design

Group space = Listening, telling, transcribing


Traditional Learning Design

Individual space = Application, analysis, assimilation


The problem with this is

Class time used up on low-level tasks

Students work on hardest tasks when help least available

Students lack control over information stream

Encourages dependency of student upon instructor

Flipped Learning Design

Lower-level tasks ⇨ Individual space pre-class

Flipped Learning Design

Group space ⇨ Analysis, application, synthesis + guidance


Flipped learning

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

Flipped Learning Network, 12 March 2014

Flipped learning is not

Videos before class and homework in class

Lecture before class and more lecture in class

Students teaching themselves material with minimal guidance

The "flipped classroom" (necessarily)

Flipped learning is

Students assuming responsibility for their learning

Putting direct instruction and active learning in the best contexts

Putting information flow on students' terms

Maximizing access to expert help when students need it the most

Flipped learning enables

more time in the classroom for deep exploration

a client-consultant model of education

responsibility, independence, maturity

intentional practice with self-regulated learning

Self-Regulated Learning

Paul Pintrich, early 2000's

Four areas:





Four phases:

1: Forethought, planning, activation

2: Monitoring

3: Control

4: Reaction and reflection


Four conditions for SRL:

  • Learners are active participants in learning process and construct their own meanings
  • Learners have the potential to monitor aspects of the learning process
  • Learners have a standard against which to compare learning processes and make realistic decisions about the adequacy of their learning
  • Learners use self-regulating activities to mediate between personal characteristics and performance

Flipped learning has the potential for

Students to reach all phases of SRL

in all areas of SRL

by creating all four conditions for SRL

in class, with expert coaching

and outside class, through structured activities

thereby setting students up to be true lifelong learners.

Flipped learning in Calculus

MTH 201 (Calculus), Fall 2013 at Grand Valley State University

We flipped calculus because


Design philosophy

Content mastery and conceptual fluency

Do calculus in the style of a professional

Use the client-consultant model

Intentional focus on SRL and technology


Active Calculus by Matt Boelkins

Video channel


Lab materials

http://www.geogebratube.com, search under GVSU MTH201

Class preparation: Guided Practice

trinket.io as a platform

At class: Entrance Quizzes


In class: Where the magic happens


Online homework using WeBWorK

Portfolio problems

Standard timed tests and final exam

Practical matters

Did students do the pre-class work?

Median completion rates of Guided Practice were 92% for one section and 96% in the other section.

Did students learn through the pre-class work?

Entrance Quiz median values were 78% and 72%.

How much time did it take to make the videos?

With a collaborator, 60 of the 91 videos were completed in a 10-day period prior to the start of classes.

Results from the student experience

The setup for the class is perfect, i dont [sic] understand why all classes are not like this, like you said the hardest part of the class is the homework and other teachers expect us to just pick up from what they said in lectures which is out of date teaching. Like for my Engineering class we do all the hard stuff outside of class.
I really enjoy this style of class. I would like to take one similar to this for my calc 2 experience. Are there any other professors that run class this way? If so I would love to know as I would switch into a class like this in a heartbeat.

Four things I wish I'd known about flipping

Students do not see the benefits automatically

Biggest issue: Students' time/task management

Significantly more work -- at first

Communication is the key

Thank you

Robert Talbert, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Grand Valley State University

talbertr@gvsu.edu / @RobertTalbert / +RobertTalbert

This presentation available at http://roberttalbert.github.io/cardiffuniv

All Calculus materials freely available at http://github.com/RobertTalbert/calculus under a Creative Commons license

Video content available at http://bit.ly/GVSUCalculus

Casting Out Nines blog: http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines