When a Flipped-Classroom Pioneer Hands Off His Video Lectures, This Is What Happens (CHE)

By Jeffrey R. Young

January 7, 2015

In a way, there are two Norman Nemrows. There’s the real-life professor who spent much of his career teaching accounting students at Brigham Young University. And there’s the one I’ll call Video Norm, the instructor immortalized in lectures on accounting that he began recording nearly 15 years ago.

For more than a decade, students at BYU learned from both Norms. About half of the class sessions for his introductory-accounting course were “software days,” when students watched an hour or two of video lectures on their computers anywhere they wanted and then completed quizzes online. The other class periods were “enhancement lectures,” in which students—as many as 800 at a time—gathered in a classroom and did group work led by the actual Mr. Nemrow.

Back when it started, in 2000, this method of reducing in-person classes and replacing them with videos and tutorials was an innovation, but today it is a buzzword: the flipped classroom.

A few years ago, the living, breathing Norman Nemrow retired from the university. And that’s when things got interesting, or at least more complicated, because students at BYU still learn from Video Norm.

In fact, every student taking introductory accounting at the university watches the video lectures, some 3,000 students each year. And the in-person sessions? They’re now led by another accounting professor, Melissa Larson, who has been thrust into the novel role of doing everything a traditional professor does except the lecturing. The tough question—and one of the biggest for the future of the flipped model—is whether other professors will be willing or able to become sidekicks to slick video productions.

Ms. Larson gets high marks on student evaluations for leading group work in the large classroom sessions and answering questions by email. But Video Norm remains the star. This is how online casino works if you are looking to play casino online from usa as explained in this US casino site.

That was clear when Mr. Nemrow showed up, in person, at the end of the fall semester to give a guest lecture for the introductory course. You’d think a Hollywood actor had come to campus. Students showed up early to take selfies with the professor they had spent so many hours watching on video.

“We got front-row seats,” said Celeste Harris, a junior in the course. “We said, we have to see what this guy is like in real life.”

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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