Calhoun Community College Tries New Approach To Learning

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A new learning model championed by Calhoun Community College is helping students learn more effectively by spending less time in the classroom.

The new model will be used at the Huntsville and Decatur campuses starting in the new fall semester.

Calhoun is shaking things up to wake up and challenge students inside and outside of the lecture hall.  They're doing this with a learning model called the "flipped classroom".

"At Calhoun, we realize that we don't have the same students in the classroom today that we had 30 years ago," said Dr. Bobbi Jo Carter, Calhoun's Distance Learning Coordinator.

The flipped classroom model is a way for students to access the passive learning activities of listening and reading on their own time.  Students can review the web-based materials as many times as they want outside of the classroom.

"They're in control.  It's student-centered learning," said Dr. Carter.  "Then we use the classroom time for them to do active learning activities, so they come in and actually do hands-on things."

These include lab exercises, case studies or group work.  The online learning objects feature text and video powered by Tegrity.

"We can also include the audio so the students who are auditory learners can listen to the information. Then the classroom portion is for the kinesthetic learners, people who need that hands-on activity to actually apply the information and get it to stick that way," said Dr. Carter.

Research shows students are responding positively to the hybrid learning mode.

"One course delivered traditionally and then that exact same course delivered with the flipped classroom and we're seeing anywhere from three to six percent increase in test scores," said Dr. Carter.

That equals higher completion rates, fewer course withdrawals and even less time on campus.  Students become awakened and instructors become learning facilitators.

"It's much more engaging for the students, it's much more engaging for the instructors, like I said, it's a win-win for everybody," Dr. Carter added.

If the flipped classroom model is something that interests you, both the Huntsville and Decatur Calhoun campuses are extending online open registration right up to the first day of classes, August 20.  Registration offices in both locations will also be open Saturday, August 18 for student convenience.

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