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The flipped classroom approach in large class settings at Walter Sisulu University.

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Massification of higher education has resulted in large classes that compel universities to design and implement curricula that address the diverse needs of students. The literature on pedagogies in higher education proclaims that the traditional lecture method is inadequate to deeply engage active student learning in large class settings. This study, motivated by my own experience of teaching Business Information Systems (BIS) to undergraduate students in large classes at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) sought to investigate the extent to which a flipped classroom approach influenced their learning experiences. Wang et al.’s (2015) Complex Adaptive Blended Learning Systems (CABLS) framework and Biggs’ (2003) theory of Constructive Alignment provided the lenses to identify and discuss the factors that influenced the students’ experiences of learning BIS through the flipped classroom approach as well as to understand its pedagogical underpinnings. Located in an interpretive research paradigm the study employed a mixed methodology approach to produce data. Document analysis of the BIS module templates as well as supporting course documents were analysed with the aim of understanding the pedagogical underpinnings of the flipped classroom approach. A census survey of students who were introduced to the flipped classroom approach was conducted to collect quantitative data through a closed-questions questionnaire. Qualitative data was produced through a focus group discussion with eleven participants who were selected through the snowball sampling approach. Students participated voluntarily. The quantitative data was analysed through descriptive statistics. The qualitative data was analysed through thematic and document analysis. Findings of the quantitative and qualitative analysis for the most part revealed that the flipped classroom approach influenced the majority of students to improve personal and academic skills in ways that were not easily developed during the traditional lecture approach in large class settings. The flipped classroom approach was rated at a lower scale in students’ motivation to attend classes and meeting their expectations of the module. The study concluded based on its findings that the flipped classroom approach enables students to operate at all cognitive levels and in-line with the critical cross-field outcomes that are required in the world of work.


Master of Education. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2017.


Class size., Classroom Management., Classroom Utilization., Theses - Education.