“Flipped Classroom Model: Who Needs Professors When You Have Yourself?”

Sarah Carter ’24

High School Graduate, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: This article appears in our annual Eggplant Edition, comprised exclusively of satirical articles.

 Students at the College of the Holy Cross are among the most overworked and encumbered of any high ranking academic institution in the United States. From fulfilling scores of classic British readings to performing semesters’ worth of lab research, the students here have scant time for recreation or leisure. In fact, the sole ambition of the institution’s academic planning panel — which is headed by a team of Cool Beans baristas — is to render students to the point of complete enervation on a regular basis – a ploy to increase students’ coffee expenditures, some might say. In recent years, the panel has been especially successful. Not only are students withering beneath the load of their scholarly responsibilities, but they are quite literally breaking under the weight of their newly assigned professorial roles. Yes, you read that properly: students are dually functioning as professors. Want to learn more? Well, now you can! Look no further than the panel’s flipped classroom model, which can be found in curricula throughout the College.

The flipped classroom model has transformed standard learning conventions at the College of the Holy Cross. By facilitating the regression from instructor-led learning back to defunct methods of self-teaching, this approach imposes the responsibilities of learning on the students. Rather than attend a lecture where professors disseminate information to students and distribute take-home assignments, students come to class having already done all of the information processing on their own (in a way that is largely conducive to a faulty, misconstrued understanding of the material)! Who needs a professor, right? Students are provided pre-taped lecture videos to review prior to attending class and must incorporate the full breadth of information contained within them on their own so that professors do not have to! Professors are intended to serve as secondary aids only and function to answer any questions students have regarding the material that cannot otherwise be found via Google. Cool Beans panel members have illuminated a number of benefits associated with this method of learning, some of which we have provided below:

Benefit #1: You do not have to do anything in class because you did all the work on your own beforehand! That’s right! Dispel any concerns you have about performing large sums of work during your lecture meeting. To your satisfaction, you will find that you only need to sit and listen (or maybe not listen because you surely will not miss much). In fact, the in-class portion should be quite pleasant. For the next fifty minutes, you can practice assimilating all of the information you reviewed the night before by sitting in silence listening to a third of the class ask three variations of the same useless question. While the videos you viewed last night contained a cumulative total of twenty-one slides, anticipate to only touch on a third of them and listen instead as the Professor unnecessarily prattles on about a question whose answer takes one minute to communicate. Think you’re done? Not yet. Now listen as the inquiring students pose yet another question which is necessary only because the professor so poorly articulated their response to the first one. Sit idly as this continues for ten minutes of the class period. You will also find that there is no need to worry yourself about group work, practice examples, or onerous calculations. You will do very minimal, if any of these! At most, be prepared to answer one thirty second poll question measuring two percent of your acquired knowledge from the night before.

Benefit #2: Under the flipped classroom approach, you receive a complementary (actually non-complementary) $7,000 YouTube subscription which unlocks a semester’s worth of pre-class lecture videos for the class featuring a professor who may or may not be your own! Revel in the pure enjoyment of previewing nightly hour-long videos BEFORE your synchronous lecture the next day and rest comfortably as new, totally unfamiliar information that you will lose track of within the next hour is distributed to you. Have questions about what you watched? No problem! Simply pause and ask the lecturer (wait lol, you can’t). Instead, come to class over a day later and wait for your questions to resurface from the remnants of your half-conscious, fractured understanding of the material and run them by the professor.

Benefit #3: There is something new to learn every night! Under the flipped classroom approach, there is no time to apply learned materials outside of the exceedingly-mute in-class period. Prepare to discuss content for only one fifty-minute block before moving onto something else, therefore retaining almost nothing! It is just not possible to allot time for worksheets or group assignments (but there is time for the occasional eight-minute quiz which costs you TWENTY points for every missed problem), but this is to your delight, I am sure. After class, allow yourself to expunge and completely let go of the complete bulk of information you attempted to make sense of the night before, and begin watching the next assigned video set, which will be just as unfamiliar to you as the previous night’s work and only further compound your confusion. But again, never fear! You will not have to talk or do anything in class.

Photo by Valentina Moran ’23

Benefit #4: There is no need to ever attend office hours. That is correct! The discussion portion of the class which you attend three times a week is your designated office hours session for which all thirty-seven of your peers are present. Talk about saving time! During this time, you should plan to wait ten minutes and listen as a select minority of your peers submit their questions to the professor (who may or may not have even been the lecturer in the pre-class videos) who will certainly recite an answer that does not correspond at all to your collective understanding of the material. 

Benefit #5: You will never need to study for exams! If you do not already know at this point, you are your own professor. YOU sit with YOURSELF for multiple nights of the week dexterously and painstakingly recording notes and bearing the brunt of hours’ worth of lecture videos. You arrive at class and really gain no additional knowledge, but you have mastered the material already, so be not dismayed. Upon the announcement of an impending exam, know that you have almost no work to do at all. Simply rewalk through every individual presentation powerpoint again from start to finish (to furnish your severely deficient understanding of the material) and be prepared to succeed after lecturing yourself on the material again for a second time. Go you, Mr./Ms. Professor!

Benefit #6: You learn to synthesize information from a host of different sources. That is  right, you heard me! Not only are you responsible for the information contained within the pre-class videos, but you also must keep pace with frequently assigned discussion questions, supplemental handouts/videos/presentations, and textbook readings/discussion questions, therefore leaving you no time for any of your other classes! Rejoice in the abundance of overly jumbled information you will have accumulated by the time you have to begin preparing for your next exam. Trying to find the specific document where concept x is discussed? You have plenty of resources to reference! Is it in your presentation notes?? Hmm, no? What about the twelve page supplementary handout? The minute passage on page eighty of the textbook? Surely you will locate the information somehow; you are the professor, after all!

The College’s academic planning panel assuredly believes that all students instructed under the flipped classroom approach will develop the necessary competencies to better succeed in the classroom and more importantly, supersede their own professors. If you would like to experience this opportunity yourself, elect to take a course under this approach and designate your tuition dollars to a course in which most of the help you receive is from you yourself.

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