Rotating the classroom
The “flipped” or “inverted” classroom is a hot trend in higher-ed (peruse the Chronicle’s archives to get an idea.) In brief, the instructor in a flipped classroom channels most of their content delivery (lectures, readings) outisde the classroom, often through screencasts students can watch on their own time. This frees up time in the classroom for critical discussion, questions, and student collaboration, thus taking advantage of the best part of a traditional classroom: having bodies in the room! (Or seated on ends of a log, if, like me, you prefer a Williams College analogy.)
The Michelle Smith Collaboratory has been developing resources to help our faculty and teaching assistants transition to this new format. We like to say we’re “rotating the classroom”, helping to ease our instructors gradually into a more completely flipped course.
One of my favorite tools made this spring is a series of short videos written by Molly Harrington and edited by Madeline Gent that verbally explain and visually illustrate core concepts of formal analysis in art history. Assign this series as homework for your students, so the next week you can spend the whole time evaluating and honing their skills, rather than spending class time on initial definitions.