Linguistics 100, 200 and 311 – Development of a Flipped Learning Model

TitleLinguistics 100, 200 and 311 – Development of a Flipped Learning Model
Duration2 Year
Project Summary

Over the last few years, Linguistics has been rethinking the undergraduate curriculum to better address student needs, incorporate advances in pedagogy, and contribute to the sustainability of teaching practices and resources within the department. To achieve this goal, over the last two years this department has initiated a ‘flipped-classroom’ approach in three target courses: Introduction to Language and Linguistics (LING 100), Linguistic Theory and Analysis I (LING 200), and Studies in Phonology (LING 311). Some of the elements of the project included substituting some lecture content with online, interactive tools and developing visualizations of complex concepts, so students could gauge their own understanding of the content.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2013/2014
Year 1: Project TypeLarge TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorLisa Matthewson
Year 1: Funded Amount167,022
Year 1: Team Members

Lisa Matthewson, Professor
Evan Ashworth, Postdoctoral Fellow
Henry Davis, Professor
Kathleen Hall, Assistant Professor
Gunnar Hansson, Associate Professor
Meagan Louie, Graduate Student
Hotze Rullmann, Associate Professor
Martina Wiltschko, Professor

Project ReportReport-2013-FL-Matthewson-WEB.pdf
Project Outcomes

Products & achievements: RSA style videos; interactive lecture replacements; language datasets; textbook alternatives; reading quizzes; summative and formative assessments.

Intended outcomes/themes:

  1. Give students increased choices in how to learn and be assessed on their understanding of course concepts.
    • Content delivery (e.g., lecture, interactive modules, peer learning).
    • Summative assessment devices (e.g., project-based finals, group homework assignments).
  2. Transform three undergraduate linguistics courses using a ‘flipped-classroom’ model.
    • eLecture videos, interactive websites, and other online learning resources, greater integration of content in student comments/questions.
    • Enhanced peer learning opportunities.
  3. Contribute to the sustainability of department resources and teaching practices.
    • Materials stored on online repository, which constantly grows/is revised.
    • Continuing faculty engagement with material stored on online repository.
    • All three target classes incorporate elements of the flipped-classroom model.

Evaluation approach: Data collection and evaluation were principally accomplished through the use of pre-course and post-course surveys, which were created by Evan Ashworth, Teaching and Learning Fellow (TLF), with the assistance of UBC Linguistics faculty and staff from CTLT and Arts ISIT. The purposes of these surveys were to: 1) assess what students knew about course content at the beginning of the class as compared to the end of the class; 2) better understand how students preferred to learn (e.g., traditional lecture-based classroom, accessing resources outside of class); and 3) get a sense of how students viewed peer learning through activities in class and in tutorial sessions. All surveys were anonymous and participation was entirely optional.

Additionally, anecdotal evidence based on feedback from individual instructors, TAs, and students has proved useful for proposing revisions to flipped-classroom course curriculum. Taken together, both pre-/post-course surveys and anecdotal evidence represent blunt devices for assessing student learning gains and for evaluating project effectiveness.

Findings: Intended project outcomes and benefits were achieved with respect to one of the target courses (LING 100). LING 200 and LING 311 evaluation is still underway. Overall, results of the LING 100 pre- and post-course surveys revealed that students held fairly positive views about peer learning, both in linguistics and in other coursework. With respect to the elements of flipped classroom pedagogy, responses were also fairly positive. Although students’ average responses indicated a more positive view towards activities conducted during tutorial sessions than during lectures, students had positive views on course videos and in-class clicker questions and clicker quizzes. Survey responses further indicated that students had a much stronger understanding of the concepts on which they were surveyed upon exiting LING 100 as compared to entering this course. Students’ responses also indicated that they enjoyed the course and one of the emergent themes from the comments section was that students were very pleasantly surprised at how interesting the course was. Although most students in LING 100 viewed the flipped classroom positively, several students continued to view this framework suspiciously.

Teaching practices have changed in the target courses as a result of this project, especially in LING 100. In this course, instructors now deliver a substantial portion of course content online (through eLecture videos, interactive websites, and other digital media) to provide students with “first exposure” to course concepts that prepare them for future learning. Additionally, LING 100 has transitioned away from a traditional final exam to a project-based final, in which students work in groups, perform original research, and present their findings in front of their peers at the end of the semester. Instructors of LING 200 and 311 are now giving students increased options for how to learn (and demonstrate understanding of) course concepts (e.g., through activity-based peer learning, group homework assignments and projects) and are more effectively incorporating clicker technology in their teaching.



Evan Ashworth. Flipping the Linguistics Classroom”. UBC Postdoctoral Research Day. September 17th, 2014. University of British Columbia.

Evan Ashworth. “Flipping the Linguistics Classroom”. Linguistics Department Colloquium. October 15th, 2014. University of British Columbia.

Evan Ashworth, Henry Davis, Joash Gambarage, Hotze Rullmann, Lisa Matthewson, Sonja Thoma, Martina Wiltschko.“ This changed my teaching: Transforming large classes into interactive learning environments”. CTLT Workshop. October 29th, 2014. University of British Columbia.


e-Lecture-fied: Using asynchronous online videos in the flipped linguistics classroom” (to be submitted to the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Spring 2016)

Sustainability: Over the next five years, we seek to continue teaching LING 100 using a flipped approach. Existing teaching materials and resources have been added to Omeka, an online repository, which will not only serve as a storehouse for these materials but will allow department faculty to share their experiences with each resource using the comment feature on the site. Further, these materials can be used in future online course offerings in the department. While existing materials will continue to be used in the short-term (one to two years), it will be important to receive support from CTLT, Arts ISIT, and other UBC departments and organizations in order to create new/updated classroom materials, maintain course websites, and develop improved project assessment devices.

It is important to be able to count on the long-term assistance of a TLF and RAs who can work with faculty to implement elements of the flipped approach and provide students with increased choices in their learning, continue to develop project assessment devices, and help to maintain the Omeka repository. It is the department’s vision to extend the flipped classroom model to all its undergraduate courses, including as the first priority LING 101, LING 200 and LING 300. The results of this project will be invaluable as we move towards our ultimate goal, as we now have experience, knowledge, and infrastructure, as well as assessment and evaluation tools in place.