The Challenges and Dynamics of Flipped Learning Totally Online: The Case of Training Research Postgraduates to Be University Instructors

Tiffany Ko, Lisa Y. N. Law, Theresa Kwong, Eva Y. W. Wong


“Flipped classroom” is one of the popular blended learning approaches in Higher Education (HE) with significant use of technology. A “flipped” course typically engages students to do pre-class online learning at their own pace; the teachers then design active learning activities to reinforce students’ online learning in a physical classroom setting. Although literatures suggest that active learning after self-directed online learning can take place not only in traditional lectures hall but also online learning spaces, there is a lack of studies that investigate how the “relocation” of the face-to-face component online would affect students’ learning. As the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended face-to-face teaching on HE campuses worldwide, this article seizes the opportunity to examine the difficulties and possibilities of conducting flipped learning totally online. By evaluating the delivery of a flipped course for 46 research postgraduate students in Hong Kong during the pandemic-stricken period, the teaching team of the captioned course summarizes how the paradigm shift of flipped learning from partially online to totally online simultaneously distort and create new dynamics of in-class interaction and collaboration. Recommendations on how to better implement and research “flipped learning totally online” as a pedagogy across multiple disciplines will also be highlighted.

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