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Univ. of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla, implements flipped classroom workshops

With the objective of improving the quality of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as student success, the University of Puerto Rico’s Aguadilla Campus has conducted workshops on “flipped” classroom techniques at its Distance Education Division’s Training Laboratory. 

The “flipped” teaching approach reverses the traditional learning model by providing instructional content, such as videos or lectures, ahead of class, freeing up classroom time for active, hands-on activities such as discussions, problem-solving, concept mapping, experiments, and group projects. 

“This method allows students to engage with the material at their own pace, fosters deeper understanding through participation and allows instructors to focus on facilitating learning rather than lecturing,” said Miguel Méndez, director of the initiative. 

This initiative is part of the broader “Strengthening Teaching and Advancing Research Partnerships: Reinforcing the STEM Workforce (STARp)” proposal led by Méndez, an associate professor in the campus’ Natural Sciences Department.

Under professor Yessenia Lassalle’s supervision, the project also offers educational counseling to about 60 students who are receiving educational counseling.

Lassalle is responsible for conducting workshops focused on study strategies designed to enhance students’ skills in the active learning environment of the flipped classroom. 

“These initiatives underscore the university’s commitment in providing innovative educational experiences and empowering students for success in STEM fields,” said Sonia Rivera-González, chancellor of the Aguadilla campus. “This innovative approach to STEM education represents a promising step forward in advancing academic excellence and student success at the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla.”

“Upon completion of the project, it is projected that students will have been exposed to innovative instructional methods and active learning techniques, resulting in a 5% improvement in learning outcomes in the impacted introductory STEM courses,” Méndez said. 

The professor emphasized that the ultimate goal of these workshops is not only to reduce failure rates but also to significantly improve students’ learning outcomes, with improvements compared to traditional lecture-based classes. 

In the lab where flipped-classroom workshops are conducted, technological resources, technical personnel and instructional design specialists are available to assist and train teachers in technical areas and in creating educational material for online, distance and hybrid courses.

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