General

Inverted Lectures

Two of my classes this year feature the strange format of “Inverted Lecture.” The idea behind the format is that material is learned outside of the classroom and then the material is practiced during lecture.

I was initially skeptical of this model. I assumed it was another so-called “innovation” that ultimately would prove ineffective. I already have a hard time attending and absorbing lecture; this seemed to be another hassle that would alienate me further from the lecture format.

However, I’m finding the inverted lecture to actually be preferable. The bulk of my learning is already done at home with self-study, so it’s nice to have that learning removed from lecture: it takes some of the edge off getting to lecture on time and taking notes and paying attention, which can get draining.

One of my classes only used the inverted lecture format for the first seven lectures. We had to watch YouTube videos uploaded by the prof before the lecture. Lecture consisted of fifty minutes of solving problems with our classmates in small groups. I definitely hated the idea on the first lecture, because I had intended on sulking throughout lecture and not making any friends, and, tragically, the inverted lecture foiled these plans. But by the time the final inverted lecture came around, I had grown very fond of it.

I liked meeting people in class and working on problems with them. I definitely feel really awkward in class with my classmates normally. But, thanks to the inverted lecture format, I am no longer compelled to sit in the back of class and arbitrarily seethe at everyone else; I know them now. Sadly, that class has returned to the normal lecture format, and I am finding it easier and easier to skip lecture.

My other class has a less involved inverted lecture format. The professor lectures to some extent, but most of the class is focused on working on some problem, with substantial feedback from students. The professors who teach this class are actually researching the efficacy of the inverted lecture format and found that students are able to judge their own competence in the material much better with this lecture format, and so fewer students fail the course (because they would have dropped it). The professors swear by the format.

In any case, the inverted lectures help me solve my own problem of lecture truancy. I have a hard time getting to class because I don’tĀ feel thatĀ sitting in class and being lectured at is an effective way for me to learn. I often get burned because of this. I think that problem solving in class helps me learn, understand, and apply the material better, which I guess is the whole point of undergrad.