Flipped Friday – Using MyMathLab for Pre-Class Assignments

Flipped Friday – Using MyMathLab for Pre-Class Assignments

Flipped FridayThis semester I will be posting about my experiences with the Flipped Classroom. I am using this approach in my Statistics class, and you can read about my day-by-day progress here. I am also using this approach in my Intermediate Algebra class, as well as some of my materials in an online Elementary Algebra class. If you have questions, comments, or topics you’d like me to cover, please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.

Pre-Class Assignments

In a flipped classroom, direct instruction is moved outside the classroom into the individual space. Before flipping my classroom, my direct instruction involved conceptual explanations and introductions to new topics, followed by examples and an opportunity for student practice. I wanted my flipped pre-class assignments to incorporate those elements in guided practice, and MyMathLab (recently renamed MyLab Math) allows me to do this.

I build media assignments containing conceptual videos and example videos in addition to homework exercises. It’s quite easy to edit a traditional homework assignment to fit this strategy. In the assignment builder I click on Media, then I can add any of the media elements that the publisher includes. In my combined algebra textbook there are over 3000 short videos to choose from. You can also add videos from YouTube or other web sites.

Example – Intermediate Algebra

My Intermediate Algebra class meets for 2 hours on Monday and Wednesday. On Wednesday my goal was to review solving linear inequalities, then move on to solving absolute value inequalities. My MyLab assignment had conceptual videos and example videos related to solving linear inequalities, complex linear inequalities, displaying solutions on a number line and using interval notation. There were also about a half-dozen problems for students to work through. I then followed up with a handful of videos relating to the topic of solving absolute value inequalities, as well as 4 example videos.

This allowed me to begin the class with a group problem solving session for linear inequalities (20 minutes). After a debriefing where we discussed common issues and trouble spots, I started to talk about absolute value inequalities using a number line and the definition of absolute value involving distance. We were able to work backwards from a solution to the absolute value inequality that led to it. We also discussed the differences between “less than” absolute value inequalities and “greater than” absolute value inequalities, and then summarized the procedures we developed.

The class worked through a handful of examples before we finally discussed how to proceed when an absolute value is being compared to a negative number. We shared strategies for how to determine when there are no solutions and when every real number is a solution.


The videos and problems put students in a spot where they understood linear inequalities. (Students who had never seen interval notation got their introduction before class began.) The problems build into the assignment gave them a chance to assess how well they understood. Watching the absolute value inequality videos was the perfect introduction – students were familiar with the type of problem we would be working on and were able to follow my conceptual explanations because they knew where we were going.


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