Implementing a studio-based flipped classroom in a first year astronomy course
The University of Sydney
Edith Cowan Institute for Educational Research
We present a case study of the rapid transformation of a first year astronomy unit from a traditional lecture/laboratory teaching approach to an entirely studio-based flipped teaching approach. Our Physics and Astronomy Collaborative Environment (PACE) studios at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University were designed along the lines of SCALE-UP approach, with the pedagogy adapted to suit our unit. In this paper, we outline the design, early evaluation, and impacts of this transformation. In terms of content knowledge learning gain, we achieved a 0.41 mean gain with a 0.19 standard deviation on a custom hybrid concept inventory, mirroring the high gains seen in other highly interactive physics and astronomy courses. This study shows that a studio-based approach to tertiary introductory astronomy can be viable and successful. We also achieved a significant reduction in overall failure rates from 11-15% between 2012-2014 to 4% in 2015, which we hope is the result of a better student engagement. We will continue to measure effectiveness of our teaching approach and how it reflects on our students’ learning gains and success.