An Inverted IBL Frankenstein

I am teaching complex analysis this semester, and I have decided to merge the inverted classroom approach that I used last semester with an Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) approach.

The inverted approach will follow this flow: the students read the textbook and watch videos before class. In class, we answer clicker questions (to get a conceptual understanding) and get practice on the basic skills (taking derivatives, doing contour integrals, etc).

The IBL approach is this: I give the students a list of problems (created by Richard Spindler). The students do the problems at home (they can work together), and present them in class. One of the main benefits (as articulated by Dana Ernst) is that students are more skeptical of other students’ work than they are of the professor’s work. So the students will need to wrestle with the presentations, since some of them will contain errors (much like my presentations, but students will care more).

The basic idea is this: the inverted classroom approach will be used to quickly give the students the basic skills required for the course AND an overview of the course. The IBL approach will give students a deeper understanding of the course material.

The first half of the semester will be 2/3 inverted and 1/3 IBL. We will be able to get through the entire textbook in this half, although the understand will not be as deep as I would like.

The second half of the semester will be about 2/3 IBL and 1/3 review of the textbook. This is where the deep learning will take place.

I am not thrilled with the course policies—in particular the homework policy—but I will post about this later.

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12 Responses to “An Inverted IBL Frankenstein”

  1. Darci Kracht Says:

    I am trying a similar approach in business calculus this semester, with the added twist that 2 out of 3 meetings each week are in a large computer lab (Math Emporium) where the students work individually on their homework in MyMathLab. There is definitely some push-back from students, who are not accustomed to reading mathematics on their own. We’ll see how it goes….

  2. Sue VanHattum Says:

    I’d like to take this course. :^)

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Come join us! California isn’t all that far!

      Seriously—thanks for the vote of confidence. I am less certain with this experiment than I have been with others, so this was really nice to hear.

  3. Joss Ives Says:


    I really like all the ideas you have put together here, but I have no idea how you will make it through all the planned content.

    I would like to hear a bit more about the problems you are going to ask the students to present and a little bit more about the presentation format.

    I asked each of my 9 students in Quantum 1 to present a problem last term. I didn’t establish a very good classroom culture on these because I couldn’t get them to ask follow up questions and nobody ever pointed out even the most obvious errors. I am really starting to thing that the single whiteboard presentation is the way to go on these sorts of things. It makes it feel much less formal and makes them focus on the important pieces.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      Hi Joss,

      I know how to get through the textbook, but I am far from certain that we will get through the proofs. Perhaps I will supplement the proofs in screencasts, perhaps we will skip some that are in the textbook if needed. I will jump off that bridge when I come to it.

      I am not sure how the presentations will go. I will likely try a combination of white board presentations, chalk board presentations, and document camera presentations. We will see what sticks.

      I am thinking of ways to get students to comment. I don’t know how to do that yet. Hopefully it won’t be a problem. Bret

  4. First Presentation Day « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] Solvable by Radicals Just another weblog « An Inverted IBL Frankenstein […]

  5. Students demand: “More clicker questions!” « Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] my IBL-flipped hybrid complex analysis class, we finished the “flipped” portion (and the entire textbook) in half of the semester. […]

  6. New IBL-Peer Instruction Hybrid Model | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] have already been exposed to the content. I have previously tried to merge the two pedagogies by splitting the semester into halves. This has its advantages, although I am trying something new out next semester: I am going to have […]

  7. Again, a new IBL-Peer Instruction Hybrid Model | Solvable by Radicals Says:

    […] is the approach I have been using up until […]

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