The following is a guest post from Flipgrid Ambassadors Jillian Hartman and Kimber Underdown. Jillian is a full time faculty member at Grand Canyon University in the College of Education. She has been teaching for ten years and has been full time at GCU for the past four years. Jillian is passionate about social learning, educational technology, and shares this passion as a Flipgrid Ambassador. Kimber is an Assistant Professor at Grand Canyon University in the College of Education and has been teaching for 26 years as a special educator in all grade levels, from Preschool through 12th grade. Kimber was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2016 and is a Flipgrid Ambassador. In her free time, she loves to watch movies, read books, and act in local theatre productions.
We started using Flipgrid in June 2017 and have quickly found several ways to drastically improve the connections between our students and colleagues. We teach online full time for Grand Canyon University in the College of Education. We typically have around 160 students at a time, in about eight courses. Each course is 6-7 weeks long so with a full course-load, we usually start and close a class every week to maintain a steady student count.
As College of Education professors, we are in a unique position to influence future educators, so our use of Flipgrid needs to be intentional and influential, as we are shaping the ways these future educators will teach in their classrooms. Although many of our topics are geared towards teaching, these ideas could easily be modified to suit your college courses and topics.
Why use Flipgrid for Higher Education? For us, it helps us connect with students in a way that was previously unheard of. We teach online and our students are all over the world, so a face-to-face interaction typically does not occur. Using Flipgrid allows us to put a face with a name (and vice-versa) while creating a unique option for class participation. Flipgrid really helps us build a community of learners who support one another.
These are our top 15 ideas to use Flipgrid specifically in Higher Education.
Welcome message/introductions. Meet your students before classes even start! Students can see their professor right away and classmates can get to know one another through Replies in an introduction Topic on Flipgrid. Huge timesaver for professors versus calling or emailing each student individually.
Group work/study groups. No need to coordinate meeting times or location, all members can post, share, and build on ideas whenever and wherever they want! Evidence of participation in a group is also clearly documented for professor review.
Video voicemail. Flip your office hours: allow students to reach out with questions any time and respond when its convenient for you! Set up a Topic and paste the Grid Code or QR Code on your door; students can ask their questions quickly and more thoroughly than in written format or by having to show up during office hours. You can help students quickly and efficiently.
Flip your class time in an organized way! Post Topic previews before class, allow students to watch video and reply with questions. You can then spend class time addressing issues and having relevant discourse rather than starting a lecture from scratch.
Great alternative to traditional threaded discussions! Provide students a choice. Give credit to students who just post “I replied to Flipgrid!” within your Learning Management System. As many online courses require a certain number of words or sentences in each participation post, many students will find this option appealing and a timesaver.
Virtual Field Trip. Students can share where they live, what the weather is like, what they like to do in their communities. This creates a greater sense of community and builds relationships among students who are all over the country (or all over the world).
Bring multiple sections of the same course together to increase collaboration and avoid repeat questions. This creates opportunity for bigger study groups as well.
Create a schoolwide grid with intros from all colleges. Students can preview who their professor is before attending class or even use as a guide when having multiple professor options during registration.
Collaborate with other professors. Create a college-specific Grid where you can brainstorm ideas, share successes, and make research connections with fellow professors.
Easily spark discussion with attachment references. With Flipgrid, students can just share a link without worrying about a maximum file size in a learning management system or converting to YouTube and then sharing a video link.
Smooth alternative to traditional PowerPoint assignment submissions. Students can still have presentation experience as an online student and Flipgrid allows quick documentation of any presentation given in person.
Choose your own adventure. Give students multiple options as their weekly topic and they can select which one they prefer in their response.
Assignment reviews/suggestions before submitting. Provide feedback to students through Flipgrid on difficult assignments before the students submit their final drafts. Students can also elicit feedback from peers this way - an opportunity that is often underutilized in Higher Ed, especially in an online environment.
Amplify student agency and give students an opportunity to suggest topic ideas. What do they want to hear about from their peers or share with others?
Wrap ups, next course questions/connections. Create an alumni board where students can stay connected and share future course or career challenges/successes.