A Transparent Reading Assignment Encourages Reading for Flipped Courses
What is this Research About?
In a ‘flipped classroom’ model, students read or view materials before class, work on practical problems in class, and check their understanding after class. However, research shows that one problem with the flipped classes is that many students do not complete assigned pre-class readings. A transparent reading assignment can be used to encourage students to complete assigned readings. For a transparent reading assignment, students are asked to take brief notes while they complete a reading. The notes summarize the content of the readings and include the students’ reflections about the reading (e.g., “What seemed really important in the chapter?” If they submit notes on time, the notes are returned to them for use on exams. The notes are also graded for completeness. In this study, the researcher tested how a transparent reading assignment affected completion of assigned readings and students’ understanding of course material.
What did the Researchers Do?
The researchers surveyed students from three different years of a soil science course. These students had all completed transparent reading assignments as part of their course work. The researcher surveyed students about whether the reading assignment encouraged them to complete readings, how helpful the notes were for tests and understanding material, and if they would recommend the assignment to other professors. Additionally, the researcher examined whether the note-taking assignment quality and completion status was correlated with final exam grade.
What did the Researchers Find?
The researcher found that the reading assignment resulted in students completing 80-90% of the assigned readings. Students reported almost unanimously that the assignment was valuable in helping them learn the material. A majority of students reported that other professors should adopt a similar reading assignment strategy. Achievement on the assignment positively correlated with achievement on the comprehensive final exam.