Research seminar: Lecture flipping: it’s all about the assessment

In a series: Educational Research Seminars 2015-16
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Dr Jeremy Pritchard from the University of Birmingham shares his experience of lecture flipping

Educational research seminar: 10 December 2015

Lecture flipping: it’s all about the assessment

Dr Jeremy Pritchard, Head of Education, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham


This talk will outline experiences of using lecture recordings to facilitate flipped teaching to students in the school of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham. There is increasing acceptance that face-to-face time with students should not be wasted on knowledge transfer and that there is a greater need to deliver transferable skills. I used previously recorded lectures to flip part of a final year module. Since students engage better through assessment, the novel teaching delivery was accompanied by student-led development of a seen exam question. In the first year student perception was mixed, with a small cohort uncomfortable with less didactic delivery. The second year delivery was more structured and clearer about the objectives, with in-depth discussion of the development of the seen exam question and the front loaded independent learning. The Canvas VLE was used to facilitate peer and group work. Flipped delivery was varied, including lecture recordings, journal clubs, outside speakers and presentations. Despite the structure and transparency, student engagement in the flipped lecture remains an issue. However, students performed better in this component of the module and anecdotal feedback suggested post-exam acceptance of the aims. 2014-15 results will be reported and discussed. The presentation will conclude with a presentation of lessons learned and recommendations for future:

1. Tie your flipped classroom content to assessment
2. Be clear with students what you’re doing
3. Make sure you’ve got a strong plan
4. Relax and go with the flow
5. Not everything lends itself to flipping.


Jeremy is a senior lecturer in Biology. His research at Birmingham University has focused on the interaction of plants with their environment, both biotic and abiotic encompassing a wide spectrum from elevated CO2 through to sap feeding herbivores such as aphids. He has worked in the USA, New Zealand and Europe. Jeremy is also actively involved in diverse teaching, covering topics from field biology and ecology through Plant biology to Evolution. He was a previous Birmingham University Teaching Fellow (BUTF) and was one of the recent Birmingham ‘Teaching Heroes’.

Within the School of Biosciences he is Head of Education with overall responsibility for programmes in Biology, Biochemistry and human Biology and is an admissions tutor for Biosciences, running a range of schools liaison activities from years 5 – 13 and CPD for teachers, aiming to help public understanding of science and also facilitate progression across the secondary – tertiary boundary. He is director of Education for the Birmingham institute of forestry which is currently starting large scale FACE experiments investigating the long term effects of elevated CO2 on UK oak forests

Nationally he chairs the Society of Biology Education Training and Policy (ETP) committee. He speaks on outreach and PuS policy issues nationally (e.g. ASE, BSF, Wellcome Trust Science Engagement) and has a strong interest in enhancing teaching methods and developing education policy issues.

He lists phloem as his favourite cell, aphids as his favourite insect and Darwin as his favourite scientist and badgers students and the public about them at every opportunity.

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Interested in lecture flipping? You might find this video about recording lectures useful.

Interested in attending upcoming CAPD Educational Research Seminars? Check out the Current Research Seminars page.