Do you remember what classrooms looked like in school? A teacher would be the primary disseminator of information and address the whole class from the platform. If one thinks classrooms are the most effective that way, IIT Guwahati has sworn to prove it wrong!
IITG has large classrooms, which made it difficult for professors to monitor the progress of every student individually. The institute came up with an innovative classroom arrangement, called flipped classroom, last year to make learning process easier for its students.
Flipped classrooms are being conducted to make the students more interactive in lectures. In this arrangement, the class of 50-80 students is divided in groups each of 5-7 students. Each group has a balance of academically mediocre and bright students. “These group discussions help students solve their doubts and come up with innovative ideas. Each group is assigned a single project and grades are allotted to the group, not to individual students. Hence, it is very important for each of the group members to perform well,” explained Bhavin Mandalaywala, the Vice-President of Student Gymkhana council at IITG. “Students can secure high grades only if collective performance of their group is good. Unconvincing inputs by one student directly affects the grades of other students in the group,” he added.
Prof. Anupam Saikia, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at IITG, told PaGaLGuY, “In flipped classrooms, students take the lead and teachers take a backseat. This arrangement has made the students proactive. Proposed by the director, Gautam Biswas, the flipped classroom arrangement aims at making classes more interactive and enhance problem-solving amongst the students. The instructors are given freedom to conduct flipped classrooms if the arrangement helps better understanding of their subject.”
The progress of the groups is monitored by students of postgraduate and research programmes, who receive direct instructions from the professors. “The benefits of flipped classrooms are manifold. The burden on professors is reduced, and the MTech and research programme students also learn while continuously reviewing the group activities and helping their fellow students,” said an IITG student who found the flipped classrooms very helpful. With the new arrangement being more student-friendly, it would surely make sessions more interactive and fruitful for the students.