By Richard Miller, Academic Outreach and Innovation

PULLMAN, Wash. – In fall 2013, math instructor Paul Krouss watched Kristin Lesseig at work during a peer observation program. Lesseig, an assistant professor of math education, was teaching Mathematics for College and Secondary Teachers using a flipped classroom model.

“He saw that I was having students work on problems before class and talk about them during class,” Lesseig said. “There were rumblings in his mind: ‘What’s a better way for students to engage and interact?’”

Those rumblings led to a partnership between the math and education departments at Washington State University Vancouver, where the two teach. Three semesters ago, the faculty members flipped Krouss’ Math 103 course.

They’ve been gathering data on their collaboration and will present their findings in a web-conferenced workshop, “Flipping the Classroom: Lessons Learned.” at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, March 8. Watch it online at http://tinyurl.com/wsuflw-guest or come to CUE 518 at WSU Pullman, where lunch will be provided. Please register here.

“We’ll talk about the overall course structure, including design decisions we made to make the technology aspects as easy as possible for students,” Lesseig said.

In Krouss’ class, students are assigned videos and a two- or three-question comprehension assessment covering the baseline material before attending class. Student groups then work through more complex problems in class where the instructor is standing by to help.

“One big lesson we learned was that we needed to put just as much effort into structuring the in-class portion – how to support students as they work in groups and share their solutions,” Lesseig said.

A major motivator for their project is increasing student success.

“This course covers mathematical concepts that students have had in high school, but for whatever reason, gaps still remain in student understanding,” Lesseig said. “Our theory is that working with partners will help them learn the materials more deeply.”

This faculty-led workshop is part of a series sponsored by the WSU provost’s office, Teaching Academy and Learning Innovations. Upcoming topics include reaching first-generation students and academic integrity. For the full schedule and sign-up info, go to the WSU trainings page.