Flip the Classroom: An Investigation of the Use of Pre-Recorded Video Lectures and Its Impact on Student and Instructor Experience in Two First-year Calculus Courses

Project Team (clockwise from top left: Harpreet, Cindy, Jamie, and Veselin)

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Veselin Jungić, Department of Mathematics

Project team: Jamie Mulholland, Department of Mathematics, Cindy Xin, Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC), and Harpreet Kaur, research assistant

Timeframe: August 2012 to August 2013

Funding: $3,000

Poster presentation: View a poster (PDF) describing this project from the 2013 Symposium on Teaching and Learning.

Description: We and our colleagues in SFU's Department of Mathematics have recorded lectures for MATH 150 Calculus I With Review and MATH 152 Calculus II on video over the last few years. So far the recordings have been used as an optional learning resource. We are planning to change that practice in fall 2012 by integrating video recorded lectures within the structure of the two courses as a reference for all demonstrations that are not done in the class, but are necessary in order for students to master the course material.

The change is motivated by the fact that in an introductory calculus course packed with topics, the course instructor often lacks the time to engage students in more active types of learning such as in-class discussion of the course material. Hence, the instructor is generally reduced to playing the role of a demonstrator of various calculus techniques, rather than acting as someone who moderates discussion, answers questions, promotes the big ideas behind certain techniques, and explains more challenging concepts and their applications in depth. The use of recorded lectures will free up class and instructor time for some of these important activities.

The proposed project will investigate the use of recorded lectures and its perceived impacts on students’ and instructors’ experiences in two courses (Calculus I and Calculus II) scheduled to run in fall 2012. The courses will give us the unique opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of our new approach by surveying a relatively large number of students (approximately 600) divided into two groups taught by different instructors and covering different levels of calculus. Collecting and analyzing student responses will help to answer the questions listed below (and other related questions) and will put the Department of Mathematics in a position to critically revisit the way service math courses are taught and to make changes if needed. In addition to the surveys, we will use classroom observation of peer and instructor-student interaction, along with instructor interviews, to evaluate the results of the new approach.

The feedback will help instructors to improve their teaching in large-class settings. Ultimately, those who should benefit the most from this project are future students of calculus at SFU.

Questions addressed:

Research question 1: To what extent do students in a calculus class use video recorded lectures provided as an additional learning resource? In particular, what are the students’ experiences with regard to the following:

  1. What percentage of the class has ever viewed the recorded lectures?
  2. How often do students view the recorded lectures?
  3. How much time do students spend viewing the videos on a weekly basis?
  4. How and in what contexts do students use the recorded lectures?

Research question 2: In a calculus class in which video recorded lectures are provided to students as an additional learning resource, what are the students’ perceptions of the usability of the recorded lectures and their value in learning course material? In particular, what are the students’ perceptions with regard to the following:

  1. Are the videos appealing and easy to use?
  2. What are the students' perceived values and negativities of the recorded lectures?
  3. What are the students' perceived effects of using the recorded lectures on their learning?

Research question 3: In a calculus class in which video recorded lectures are provided to students as an additional learning resource, in what ways does the instructor use recorded lectures as an additional teaching resource? In particular, what is the instructor’s experience regarding the following:

  1. What are the impacts of the recorded lectures on the instructor’s pedagogical practice?
    • What changes occur in the types of instructional tasks that take place before, during, and after class and in time spent on those tasks?
    • What changes occur in the instructor’s interaction pattern with students during and after lectures?
  2. What is the instructors’ perception of how the recorded lectures have impacted student learning?
  3. What are the perceived values and negativities of the recorded lectures by the instructors?

Knowledge sharing: At the end of the project a report will be written and submitted to the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines, the chair of the Department of Mathematics, and the director of the Teaching and Learning Centre. The results of the project will be presented at the Math Lecturers Seminar. We plan to report on our findings at various conferences; for example, at the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. A paper about the project will be written and submitted to the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice.

Jungic, V., Mulholland, J., Xin, C., & Kaur, H. (2013, May). Flipping the classroom: An investigation of the use of pre-recorded video lectures and its impact on student and instructor experience in two first-year calculus courses. Poster session presented at the Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Embracing Change, @SFU, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.