Flipping Classrooms at Eastern Michigan University, Part 1

This is the first of 3 posts examining the WIMPi Project at Eastern Michigan University and their experience with classroom technology and blended learning:

1.     The WIMPi Project
2.     Panopto Achieves Immediate Results
3.     Beyond Lecture Capture

Panopto at Eastern Michigan University
Professor Frank J. Fedel using Panopto with an iPad in the classroom


The “flipped classroom” has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years. Also known as “reverse instruction,” a flipped class generally assigns recorded lectures for out-of-class viewing, in order to free up the classroom for more interactive, student-focused learning activities.

The WIMPi project at EMU utilizes Panopto for two basic purposes: to flip classes by limiting one-way instruction inside the classroom and to document student progress through the program. WIMPi professors use Panopto to deliver online lectures for class preparation and review, prepare students for lab work, document acquired competencies, and record multimedia student assignments.

The challenge

Making the classroom more interactive and efficient

Frank J. Fedel, an Assistant Professor in the Health Promotion and Human Performance department at Eastern Michigan University, first introduced Panopto into his classroom in the fall of 2009 to address a basic pedagogical problem: a lack of time.

“Students are with you for a limited time, so how do you make the best use of that time? It occurred to me that providing information to students doesn’t necessarily require a two-way interaction,” recalls Fedel. “Take the case of textbooks and video. Are lectures fundamentally any different?”

Fedel and his colleagues at EMU became intent on flipping their classrooms by moving one-way communication outside of the classroom and reclaiming that precious time for group discussions, collaborative projects, and practical demonstrations. Professor Fedel soon realized that this approach would solve another persistent problem with traditional lectures.

“Students don’t all learn at the same rate…and we can’t adjust the pace of our live lectures to accommodate the entire range of student abilities. Having a recorded version allows students to control the presentation themselves and learn at their own pace.”

The solution

The WIMPi Project

Professor Fedel knew that lecture capture would be central to flipping his classroom and making his courses more personalized and interactive, but his ultimate vision was far more comprehensive. Fedel sought to leverage a variety of classroom technologies to create a learning experience unrivaled in any classroom. He envisioned a virtual classroom that would be “technologically savvy, collaboratively intelligent, and fun to use.”

With the help of fellow innovator and Clinical Coordinator of the Athletic Training Education Program, Jim Sweet, Fedel turned his vision into the WIMPi project. WIMPi combines digital whiteboards, a custom information management system, Panopto lecture capture, and iClicker response technology into a cutting-edge interactive classroom.

This combination of WIMPi technologies results in three basic efficiencies that create the groundwork for a more interactive student experience:

  • The custom information management system archives professor-vetted material in an organized and searchable format, so students don’t have to manage reams of distributed material.
  • The iClicker interactive response system gives both students and faculty instantaneous feedback on subject matter retention and mastery.
  • The ability to capture instructor notes on interactive whiteboards and record the entire classroom session with Panopto including any PowerPoint slides or computer screen capture—relieves students of the need to take copious notes during class. They are free to fix their complete attention on the material at hand and participate fully in discussion.

Next Up: Panopto Achieves Immediate Results

Published: July 03, 2012
Categories: Blended Learning Case Studies Flipped Classroom