Case Study - Our flipped learning approach

Due to Covid-19, ALSS had to adapt its teaching approach for the Pre-sessional 2020 courses from traditional face-to-face, classroom-based teaching to a course that could be delivered online. A flipped-learning approach was taken allowing delivery across multiple time zones and students to study remotely.

Daily structure and Flipped Learning

The daily structure of the Pre-sessional course was based on a Flipped Learning approach. This approach was applied on this course as follows: 

  1. Students completed the Learning Materials which include a variety of learning tasks and activities (recorded videos, task-sheets, interactive H5P activities)located on their LEARN module.  
  2. Students worked with a Study Buddy or Study Group to review, peer review and discuss some of the Learning Materials to increase their understanding of the subject. 
  3. Small group seminars were then held with tutors for studentsto discuss learning and ideas with their peers; develop speaking practice and use of academic language, and work with others as they would in their taught programme. This helped consolidate the learning and deepen understanding.  
  4. Students were assigned regular homework tasks to further consolidate learning. 
  5. Personalised feedback was provided on written tasks using GradeMark 
  6. Tutorials were provided once a week with a focus on key learning and assessment elements giving students time to ask questions and develop a deeper understanding of the personalised feedback they received. 

This meant that each day students were expected to complete the Course Materials and Buddy Task before they joined the live seminar session on MS Teams 

The Seminars

Aim of the seminars

  • Check students’ understanding of the Learning Materials.
  • Require students to share work that they have completed as part of the Learning Materials.
  • Encourage students to speak openly, work collaboratively and practise their language.

How the seminars work

  • Small groups (maximum 6 students) to ensure full participation
  • Short consolidation tasks
  • Allocating students to lead the seminar and overview their own learning
  • Discussion tasks


Aim of the tutorials

  • Check students’ understanding of the Learning Materials on a one-to-one basis.
  • Discuss written feedback and progress.
  • Opportunity for students to ask questions about their feedback and progress.
  • Agree on objectives for improvement.
  • Signposting to relevant On-Demand resources.
  • Identify any welfare concerns or needs.

Supported Study

We also provided other support systems to help students achieve their learning goals: 

  • Comprehensive induction to allow students to familiarise themselves with the learning environment, technology and content of the course.  
  • Timely topic specific forums were provided at key times to provide another layer of support where students could ask questions for further clarification.  
  • Class forums were used during the course where students could discuss specific topics such as academic culture with their seminar group and tutor. 
  • Action plans were provided to help students organise and monitor their personal learning needs in the different key skills.  
  • Personal learning reflection using blogs helped students to identify their progress at different stages of the course. 

 Structure Of The Course: Roadmap

Students were presented with a clear structure of the course via the following:  

  • Student Induction outlining what the students had to do during the course. Tutors were on-hand to guide them when they had questions throughout the course 
  • Overview Scheme of Work that provided headlines for students to manage their time effectively across the course.  
  • Daily Syllabus that provided a detailed breakdown of the Course Materials and associated Homework tasks, instructions for Buddy Tasks, information on Assessment Tasks and Live Session content.  
  • LEARN was divided into sections with one tile containing all the materials and tasks per day.  One tile was created for assessment information and submissions and another one was created for submission of formative tasks so students could easily access feedback for their written work.

Feedback On The Course

Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive. 80% of students strongly agreed and 20 % agreed that the Pre-sessional Course helped prepare them for their academic programme.  

Some of the comments included: 

  • The course materials are good, well-organised and clear. 
  • The learn page is simple and convenient and it is easy to find what I need.  
  • These were useful and effective! 
  • It’s very useful. 

Improvements to consider

Following student feedback this year, we intend to make the following changes: 

Student feedback PS Courses 2020 

Changes made to the course for PS Courses 2021 

Students requested a more detailed view of the week ahead to allow them to plan their time more effectively.  

Change the Daily Syllabus into a Weekly Syllabus. 

Some students struggled with their internet connection at times and were not able to download the full recording from the on-demand resources. 

Provide the PowerPoint slides for all recordings for easy access and quick reference. 


Seminars often overran and students requested more contact time with their tutors. The sessions were extended mid-way during the 2020 PS Courses. 

Increase the length of the seminars and include additional time at the end of each session for questions or quick ad hoc tutorials with students 

Supporting resources

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