Criminal Justice Education by Lisa Storm

Do you want to enhance student success in your undergraduate Criminal Justice course?

Of course you do.  Student success is important to higher education faculty as a matter of personal pride.  It is also becoming a focal point of scheduling, as some states are now proposing a funding scheme rooted in student success rather than enrollment data.  It is my responsibility to help students pass my classes, and that is why I began experimenting with the flipped classroom. 


What is a flipped classroom and how does it enhance student success?

The traditional flipped classroom requires students to view video lessons before coming to class.  Class time is then devoted to problem solving and a deeper analysis of the subject matter.  Instead of lecturing during class, the instructor works with the students on various projects, group activities, and discussions. Students who are encouraged to work one on one with the instructor and other students naturally become less anxious and frustrated over complex subject matter.  This in turn enhances their ability to succeed.

Although video lessons are used extensively in the flipped classroom approach, the quality of the course textbook cannot be underestimated.  The requisite of the flipped classroom is that students come to class prepared.  Videos can certainly help, as our modern students love videos.  However, the best tool to prepare students is a textbook that students can access and understand.


How does the course textbook support a flipped classroom?

A textbook can be a superior support mechanism for the flipped classroom.  If the textbook engages students, they won't dread their reading assignments.  A student that has done the textbook reading assignment before class is more likely to absorb the class lesson.

The traditional flipped classroom incorporates video lessons.  Modern textbooks that are written as e-books also incorporate video.  In addition, e-books are interactive, and can provide the student with many links to internet sites that can be quite educational.

A student that has read an engaging, interactive, and video-filled e-textbook will be in the perfect position to participate in a flipped classroom experience.

I chose to write Criminal Law By Storm for many reasons.  First, I know that my students cannot afford most of the textbooks in Criminal Justice.  And when students cannot afford textbooks, they simply do not purchase them.  A student that fails to purchase the textbook has already drastically reduced his or her chance to succeed in the course.  Criminal Law By Storm is an Affordable Educational Resources (AER); pricing begins at $39.99. 

Textbooks like Criminal Law By Storm also support the flipped classroom because they are engaging, interactive e-books.  Technology has altered the brain of the modern student.  Students are no longer accustomed to sitting and reading a print book for hours at a stretch.  They are used to reading, surfing the internet, and playing with their smart phones all at the same time.  Thus a textbook needs to be vibrant, busy, and filled with various pedagogical tools to hit all of the different learning styles.  The e-book has this capability.


Should you start experimenting with a flipped classroom approach?

My flipped classroom is showing promise; you should give it a try! You will not regret it.  In fact, I believe you and your students will enjoy the break from the traditional teaching and learning experience.

 If you have any questions about my flipped classroom results, let me know-I am happy to share my thoughts with you.





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