||Improvements on the Peer-Instruction Method: A Case Study in Multivariable Calculus
One of the challenges faced by instructors implementing a flipped classroom is the students’ resistance to embrace the method. Many factors can contribute to this outcome: students may be initially skeptical of the method due to its novelty, they may feel like it requires too much discipline tokeepup, or they might also perceive it as giving them a greater workload than a more traditional approach. In order to address this, strategies were designed and tested in a multivariable calculus course. The structure employed was inspired by the peer-instruction method, which requires students to watch educational videos or do readings prior to class and then to discuss with their peers to solve conceptual problems in the classroom. However, the main variation proposed is that the videos were produced at two different paces for them to choose from: one consisting of a traditional lecture speed where the instructor writes as he speaks, the other consisting of a shorter version where the instructor comments on prewritten text and figures. The appreciation and effectiveness of this choice in videos was measured with surveys, and the results are positive. In addition, a comparison is established with previous iterations of this course which were taught using a traditional lecture-based approach. It is found that students felt more engaged and that they did not perceive an increase in workload. Suggestions to improve the presentation of the flow of in-class questions are also presented.