What’s a flipped classroom, and what does it have to do with your library?

A flipped classroom isn’t what happens after Professor Smith’s had it up to here with his Econ 101 students. Rather, it’s a new way of structuring class time and learning. In a flipped classroom, instructors assign material to be reviewed ahead of time, allowing for problem-solving activities during class time.

For the flipped classroom to work at a college or university, the library has to be equipped with the resources students need in order to come into class ready to talk, collaborate and create around what they’ve learned. So how do you help make the flipped classroom a success? Read on for our suggestions.

Coordinate with professors and staff.

To ensure there’s adequate information for a flipped classroom, work with professors and TAs teaching each class to make it easy for students to find the resources they need. Come up with a reading and resource list for each class, and place the necessary books on hold for the students taking that course. To further the experience, determine if there are supplementary resources, including multimedia offerings, to bolster students’ understanding. This is not only a fun way to engage with the faculty at your institution, but it provides you a way to show off the awesome resources your library offers.

Ensure students have the research skills and background necessary for their success.

Even if you have the treasure trove of resources students need to get ready for their next class session, it’s only useful if students know how to find what they need. Provide students with database tutorials (in-person or online) and help them navigate the stacks to find the resource that’s going to prepare them for Tuesday’s test. Help them build keyword searches, save lists of potential resources and develop research projects if the class calls for it. Even if students don’t know Melvil Dewey from Dewey Duck, with your help, they can become masters of navigating the world of the library.

Flip your library!

The flipped classroom doesn’t have to stop once the class period is over. Instead, you can take some of the ideas of the flipped classroom and apply them to your library. Try taking some of the resources you have to market your library—whether it’s a podcast, online help guides or even an information session—and make them available to students before they ever step through the library’s doors. That way, they’ll be able to work and research in your facility with confidence.
Librarians, let us know: is a flipped library going to be the next big thing to take your library above and beyond, or are you already at the top of your game? Take our quiz to find out if your library is on the cutting edge!

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