The worlds largest flipped classroom

This is a special guest post by associate professor Carl Reidsema from the University of Queensland. Nice work Carl!

The Day the US President Dropped in on the World’s Largest Flipped Classroom at the University of Queensland for the G20 

There’s certainly a lot of hype and interest in what the world’s most powerful man, Barack Obama, gets up to. Whether you love him or not, what he has to say and where he goes are all keenly followed. So imagine my surprise when I find out that he’s going to be paying a visit to my classroom at The University of Queensland while he’s here for the G20 in Brisbane, Australia!

So what, you say? Presidents drop into classrooms all the time because education is as vital as health, defence, business and the rest of his many portfolios.

Well, in this case the classroom that the President of the United States of America is visiting happens to be a space big enough to hold 2000 people bleacher-style but for 20 weeks of the year, I and my co-teaching academic colleague along with 3 of our most talented teaching assistants use it as an active teaching space for 1200 first year student engineers at 600 students an hour in what is arguably the “World’s Largest Flipped Classroom”.

flipped-class-uq-centre.jpg

There have been decades of unmet global demand to produce graduate engineers who can work well and communicate in teams with internationally diverse peers and respond creatively yet rationally to complex socio-technical problems. We create these graduates by providing our students with opportunities to engage in hands-on authentic design problems requiring fundamental knowledge and skills in both engineering and high tech simulation software tools. Beginning in 2010 with a year in planning and supported by industry partners ABB and Boeing Australia as well as the government Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN), UQ Engineering runs an intensely challenging course with absolutely no lectures as a Flipped Classroom.  Here students do their lectures online before coming to campus to collaboratively do their ‘homework’ in full hands-on mode facilitated by experts in professional practice.