New Semester, New Model

Every year, I make a big change to my course design. It has less to do with the idea that I’m dissatisfied with the course than because I want to ensure that the course remains fresh, vibrant, and relevant to my scholars.

This year, I finally made the big switch to the Flipped Classroom model. It’s something I have intended to do for the last several years of my career, a topic that has consumed my personal research time. I wanted it to be my focus this year in part because of our faculty in-service training, but more so because it directly addresses one of my chief concerns: student engagement with the course materials.

In order to accomplish the flipped learning model, scholars will have to not only read the assigned components of the textbook, but also respond to questions, prompts, and directives in order to demonstrate that they have read and understood the material. Why is this important?

First, I don’t really love lecturing. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE to talk about topics, and I really enjoy connecting different concepts and ideas. However, I didn’t learn best from lecturers in college. Why would I, then, place lecturing as the emphasis for the course I teach? For me, that’s an illogical connection, to teach in a way that directly opposes my own best learning experiences.

Second, when students are engaged with the material in advance, they have to participate more actively in the course itself. If you know what’s going on with a topic, you are far more likely to participate in the discussion. Further, you are more likely to make connections in your own brain. With that in mind, this is the best way to ensure success.

I hope my scholars are excited about this different model, not just because of the teaching side, but because it’s a good fit for what we’re trying to accomplish: connecting communication theory and models to our every day living.

All that to say: I believe in you, scholar. Work hard this semester to connect to the course content, and let’s make it a great class for everyone involved!

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