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


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.

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Correspondence to Frank J. Robinson.

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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).

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  • Flipped classroom
  • Physics education
  • Open-source
  • First year
  • Evaluation