Numerous revisions and improvements were made between the first and second sessions of the course, including reorganization and re-filming of several lectures, and significant changes to many of the quiz and exercise questions.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong introduces his co-instructor Ram Neta (inset) in this still image from Think Again’s introductory video lecture.
Unlike many other courses on the platform, where deadlines for assignment and quiz submissions require students to work along a specifically designed timeline, Think Again is set up to allow students to enroll in the class at any time, and to work at whatever pace suits their own schedules. The instructors felt that this design would be more appropriate for the type of audiences that these large, open classes draw.
The second session is also employing the assistance of around ten Community TAs, students who were particularly active and successful during the first run of the course. These individuals monitor forums, answer student questions, and help focus and refine the discussion when necessary. Several of the Community TAs are also offering weekly Google Hangouts for students that wish to meet “live” to further discuss topics that are covered each week.
Since Sinnott-Armstrong and Neta have made so many of the lectures that they give in their “brick-and-mortar” classes available online, they are both using Think Again to “flip” their on-campus classes this semester, asking their face-to-face students to complete videos and assessments in the online course. Doing so frees up class time so that students can complete activities that allow them to explore the material in greater depth. The instructors recently spoke to InformationWeek about the process of rethinking their on-campus classes for an article that you can read here. We plan to post more on the progress of this particular flipped classroom experience later in the semester, but in the meantime, you can find out more about the general concept of flipping the classroom here.