The tyranny of Tech’s flipped courses

By now, every student has had, or knows someone who has had, a “flipped” class.

These classes have been around for a few years, and Georgia Tech has taken a likening towards them, as they provide a true usage of technology to present the learning material to the students.

However, I have been in a few of these classes and have had more than a few problems with them.

A flipped class is defined by the student taking extra time to watch lectures outside of the designated class time where they are expected to take notes and answer brief questions along with the videos while actual class time is used instead to solve problems with the teacher or teaching assistant present for any other assistance needed.

On paper, this type of class does not sound bad, but in practice I have found out quickly the many pains they present.

For example, because you have to watch these lectures outside of class you have to spend a huge chunk of time just to be caught up in the class.

With constant lectures and online quizzes, these quickly add up to be what is easily much longer time spent on this class than I would be spending on just homework and going to a normal lecture, but it is still worth the same amount of credit.

Going to class is also completely mandatory, which would normally not bother me much as a responsible student who takes full advantage of my hands on lecture experience, however there are times when the worksheets are the same as the online quizzes and seems to be pure reiteration, which is annoying and unhelpful.

On the other hand, there are also days where the worksheets are so much more difficult than the online lectures ever prepared you and the rest of the class for.

Well, because these lectures were just a video online you could not physically prepare yourself any more for the worksheets that day without additional videos or reading that would be provided by the teacher.

Once you get into class everyone generally has similar questions. The teacher and teaching assistant try their best to go around answering the same question repeatedly, and this is only for the first problem on the worksheet.

Then, everyone in the class is struggling to get through these last 4 or so questions, asking more questions and making the entire class seem chaotic where everyone is trying to ask questions to finish this worksheet just to get credit for that day.

Of course, these issues are all at the fault of the teacher’s I have had who have made my overall experiences in these classes extremely negative despite my good grades in the class.

Overall, I think this is the worst part: if I got a good grade in the class, I should be happy that it worked out in the end. I am glad it cannot hurt my GPA in the short run.

However, for the long run, I cannot shake the feeling that I have not truly learned from these types of classes as well as I know I could have learned from the normal lecture classes.

It is truly frustrating that these classes do not receive the bad reputation they really deserve. Just because professors give their classes a massive curve at the end of the semester, so the classes’ GPAs do not look horrendous, does not mean that the classes work in the students best interest.