Podcasts: Towards flipping the classroom

I gave a brief presentation at a seminar organised by Professor Paul Lam of CLEAR at CUHK on 4th May 2012. The presentation was entitled, ‘Podcasts: Towards flipping the classroom’. The slides are on Slideshare. CLEAR have a webpage with the slides of all of the presentations.

For two, nearly three, years I have been creating podcasts to support my teaching of Land Law. Essentially, these podcasts are pre-recordings of the lectures and they are distributed well in advance of the lectures. They are accompanied by an e-book (more than lecture notes but currently not so detailed as a textbook) and a blog with outlines of the most important cases (and many others besides). Making the lecture recording and these other materials available in advance of the class means that one has to think about how to add value to the face to face session. I’m not brave enough to simply stop lecturing since I don’t know whether all of the students will have listened to the podcasts. The half-way approach is to break ‘the lecture’ down into a series of short lectures interspersed with time for clarification and for class discussion of relevant questions that have been distributed in advance. The questions and discussion should try to help students to get to grips with the central ideas and their application (and so should be a help in later tutorial discussions and in formal assessment). The blog (or other social media) can be used to continue this discussion after the class. In other words, learning is more goal-focused and (for the diligent) discussion can continue after the formal classroom time has ended without imposing a huge extra burden on the teacher. In this way, a group of ‘student experts’ can emerge with the ability to help their peers. Above all, using podcasts, ebooks and blogs facilitates deeper and more focused engagement with the knowledge and ideas that students need.

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