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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature


In a changing media environment, the English department explores cutting-edge pedagogies for student involvement.

Dr. David Lee Miller, Professor of English, has won praise for his innovative teaching and is featured in a recent USC news story. This semester, Dr. Miller is teaching his class English 282, “Coming of Age,” as a flipped course. Flipped courses dispense with the usual lecture format.  A so-called “large lecture” for nonmajors, 282 has done away with many of its typical elements--starting with the lecture itself. The elements traditionally executed in the classroom become homework, freeing up class time for discussion and group projects.

Dr. Miller’s students read the assigned texts and watch short minilectures online before attending the Monday and Wednesday “anti-lecture.” To encourage participation, the class is broken into eight teams of 25, which compete for participation points by asking or answering pertinent questions or volunteering for activities. On Thursday or Friday, smaller groups strategize ways to increase their participation during breakout sessions led by graduate teaching assistants.

Dr. Miller began tweaking the large lecture “Coming of Age” class in response to the feedback he got in 2006, long before he had ever even heard of the flipped classroom. By 2009, his approach was significantly different than it had been three years earlier and helped him earn teacher of the year honors from the English department. The Center for Teaching Excellence then invited Miller to give a talk called “Under the Big Top: How to Succeed in the Large Lecture.”

Miller attended a provost’s retreat in 2014the concept of the flipped classroom developed from there.

With assistance from a provost’s grant, several graduate teaching assistants and lots of man-hours, Miller turned his notes from the 2009 class into 49 minilectures and taught a pilot version of his “Coming of Age” class through the Honor’s College last spring. Feedback from that class helped him transform the syllabus before he took the class to the big stage this fall.

Go here to read the full story on Dr. Miller's innovative and exciting work with the flipped classroom.