Skip to main content
Log in

Using Open-Source Videos to Flip a First-Year College Physics Class

  • Published:
Journal of Science Education and Technology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Flipped classrooms provide students the opportunity to collaboratively solve challenging problems in class with help and scaffolding available from instructors. Because there are many ways to structure a flipped course, research on the effectiveness of flipping classrooms has produced mixed results. Therefore, it is important for researchers to describe the class structure when evaluating the flipped classroom format. This enables other instructors to determine which approach is best suited to their particular teaching style. The current paper describes and evaluates the use of existing open-source (stand-alone) videos when flipping an introductory physics classroom. Over 4 years, data was gathered via three methods including a survey measuring self-reported student perceptions of the course (n = 48), performance on a concept inventory (n = 113), and institutional records (n = 298) to provide a holistic view of the effects of flipping the class. Results indicated that students regularly watched and took notes on the videos, but not all the students enjoyed the flipped classroom format. Despite fewer topics being covered in the flipped version of the class, there were no statistically significant differences in concept inventory performance before and after the course was flipped. Students had higher grades in the associated laboratory course and in subsequent quantitative reasoning courses after the course was flipped. There were no statistically significant differences between grades in subsequent physics courses or based on gender after the course was flipped. Additional implications of the study are also presented.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Abeysekera, L., & Dawson, P. (2015). Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: Definition, rationale and a call for research. Higher Education Research & Development, 34(1), 1–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education. (2014). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • Awidi, I. T., & Paynter, M. (2019). The impact of a flipped classroom approach on student learning experience. Computer Education, 128, 269–283.

  • Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, 30, 9, 1-18.

  • Bolton, J., & Ross, S. (1997). Developing students’ physics problem-solving skills. Physics Education, 32(3), 176–185.

  • Bracht, G. H., & Glass, G. V. (1968). The external validity of experiments. American Educational Research Journal, 5(4), 437–474.

  • Burpee, E., Allendoerfer, C., Wilson, D., & Kim, M. J. (2012). Why do some engineering students study alone?. In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 1-6. IEEE.

  • Crews, T., & Butterfield, J. B. (2014). Data for flipped classroom design: Using student feedback to identify the best components from online and face-to-face classes. Higher Education Studies, 4(3), 38–47.

  • Day, J. A., & Foley, J. (2006). Evaluating a web lecture intervention in a human–computer interaction course. IEEE Transactions on Education, 49(4), 420–431.

  • De Grandi, C., Smithline, Z. B., Reeves, P. M., Goetz, L. G., Barbour, N., Hairston, E., ... & Caines, H. (2019). STEM Climate survey developed through student–faculty collaboration. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-16.

  • Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science, 332(6031), 862-864.

  • Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., & Gijbels, D. (2003). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis. Learning and Instruction, 13(5), 533–568.

  • Fisher, R., Perényi, Á., & Birdthistle, N. (2018). The positive relationship between flipped and blended learning and student engagement, performance and satisfaction. Active Learning in Higher Education, 1–17.

  • Graham, M. J., Frederick, J., Byars-Winston, A., Hunter, A. B., & Handelsman, J. (2013). Increasing persistence of college students in STEM. Science, 341(6153), 1455–1456.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gwet, K. L. (2014). Handbook of inter-rater reliability: The definitive guide to measuring the extent of agreement among raters (4th ed.). Gaithersberg, MD: Advanced Analytics.

  • Hake, R. R. (1998). Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, 66(1), 64–74.

  • Herreid, C. F., & Schiller, N. A. (2013). Case studies and the flipped classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 62–66.

  • Hestenes, D., Wells, M., & Swackhamer, G. (1992). Force concept inventory. The Physics Teacher, 30(3), 141–158.

  • Hill, C., Corbett, C., & St Rose, A. (2010). Why so few? Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Washington DC: American Association of University Women.

  • Jensen, J. L., Kummer, T. A., & Godoy, P. D. D. M. (2015). Improvements from a flipped classroom may simply be the fruits of active learning. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 14(1), 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, R. T., Johnson, D. W., & Tauer, M. (1979). The effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures on students’ attitudes and achievement. The Journal of Psychology, 102(2), 191–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Karabulut-Ilgu, A., Jaramillo Cherrez, N., & Jahren, C. T. (2018). A systematic review of research on the flipped learning method in engineering education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(3), 398–411.

  • Kelly, A. M. (2016). Social cognitive perspective of gender disparities in undergraduate physics. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12, 020116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lewis, K. L., Stout, J. G., Pollock, S. J., Finkelstein, N. D., & Ito, T. A. (2016). Fitting in or opting out: A review of key social-psychological factors influencing a sense of belonging for women in physics. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12, 020110.

  • Mathison, S. (1988). Why triangulate? Educational Researcher, 17(2), 13–17.

  • Moore, A. J., Gillett, M. R., & Steele, M. D. (2014). Fostering student engagement with the flip. Mathematics Teacher, 107(6), 420–425.

  • Moravec, M., Williams, A., Aguilar-Roca, N., & O’Dowd, D. K. (2010). Learn before lecture: A strategy that improves learning outcomes in a large introductory biology class. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 9(4), 473–481.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nissen, J. M., & Shemwell, T. (2016). Gender, experience, and self-efficacy in introductory physics. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12, 020105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • O’Flaherty, J., & Phillips, C. (2015). The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: A scoping review. Internet and Higher Education, 25, 85–95.

  • Pawson, R. (2006). Evidence-based policy: A realist perspective. London: Sage.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93, 223–232.

  • Rachal, K. C., Daigle, S., & Rachal, W. S. (2007). Learning problems reported by college students: Are they using learning strategies? Journal of Instructional Psychology, 34(4), 191–199.

  • Slavin, R. E. (1980). Cooperative learning. Review of Educational Research, 50(2), 315–342.

  • Slavin, R. E. (1991). Synthesis of research of cooperative learning. Educational Leadership, 48(5), 71–82.

  • Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1998). Basis of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Zhang, D., Zhou, L., Briggs, R. O., & Nunamaker Jr., J. F. (2006). Instructional video in e-learning: Assessing the impact of interactive video on learning effectiveness. Information & Management, 43(1), 15–27.

  • Ziegelmeier, L. B., & Topaz, C. M. (2015). Flipped calculus: A study of student performance and perceptions. PRIMUS, 25(9–10), 847–860.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frank J. Robinson.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the required individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Robinson, F.J., Reeves, P.M., Caines, H.L. et al. Using Open-Source Videos to Flip a First-Year College Physics Class. J Sci Educ Technol 29, 283–293 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: