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Inverting the Large Lecture Class: Active Learning and Diversity in an Introductory IR Course

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The inverted classroom model (ICM) has been successfully used in many disciplines. ICM is an active learning approach that reserves class meetings for hands-on exercises while shifting content learning to the preparatory stage. Multiple studies report better student learning, engagement and satisfaction in ICM classes. ICM is also alleged to better address the diversity of students with different learning styles and levels of preparedness. The technique has been used in IR but there have been few systematic evaluations of ICM's efficacy in large lecture classes in the discipline. Larger class size is a challenge for ICM but it allows the pursuit of higher-order learning objectives than the passive reception of content that characterizes traditional lectures. This paper reports results from an application of the inverted classroom to an introductory IR course during the winter semester 2014/15 at the University of Duisburg-Essen. It first reviews the literature on inverting large lecture classes and then presents our approach for this particular class. We then present preliminary results on ICM's effects on student learning, measured in terms of students' self-assessment, and on student attitudes about the ICM as a teaching method compared to a traditional lecture format.. This project has been funded by the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft. We are grateful to Anna Ebert, Achim Görres, Florian Rabuza, Tobias Rammel and Sylvia Ruschin for their assistance. 2
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