Jupyter has exploded in popularity, not only in data science but also in education. As seen in the Gallery of Interesting Jupyter Notebooks, myriad notebooks are shared with the purpose of teaching some topic or technique. Used within a formal course, Jupyter combined with a pedagogical practice called “flipped learning” can lead to engaging and highly effective learning experiences.
In flipped learning, students encounter new course material before class meetings through structured activities, rather than during class via passive lecturing. This helps students learn how to learn on their own, and it frees up class time to focus on creative applications of the basic material. Typically, students in flipped learning environments encounter new material by watching lectures that are recorded and posted online. However, recent research has suggested that a more effective practice is to have students interact with a “tangible interface” that gives them hands-on experience with those new concepts.
Lorena Barba and Robert Talbert offer an overview of flipped learning and the research that supports its effectiveness, discuss the use of Jupyter notebooks as a “tangible interface” for new material in a flipped course, and share case studies from their own courses in which Jupyter was used to build an active, engaging, and academically effective flipped learning environment. Along the way, they detail design principles that leverage the best features of Jupyter to produce a high-functioning active learning environment and discuss the role of Jupyter-based course materials in the rapidly expanding world of open educational resources (OER).
Lorena A. Barba is associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. In addition to her research in computational science and engineering, she is interested in education technology, social learning and massively open online courses as well as innovations in STEM education, including flipped classrooms and other forms of blended learning. Lorena is a recipient of the 2016 Leamer-Rosenthal Award for Open Social Sciences and was awarded an honorable mention at the 2017 Open Education Awards for Excellence of the Open Education Consortium.
Robert Talbert is a professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University. Robert is an early adopter, proponent, and thought leader on flipped learning in higher education, and his flipped learning implementations include 10 different university mathematics and computer science courses. He is the author of Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty; he has also written articles, book chapters, and blog posts and given workshops and presentations on flipped learning to audiences in colleges across the US and abroad.
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