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Press Release

“Flipped Classroom” Model Shows Proven Progress in Addressing Broken Educational Experience in the U.S.

First Comprehensive National Survey Reveals Increased Adoption of the Model in the Next 12 Months, Fueled by Improved Student Mastery and Retention of Curriculum

MADISON, WI – November 19, 2013 – The cost of higher education has nearly doubled since 2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and continues to rise.  Meanwhile, college enrollments are on the decline, down 2.3 percent this spring compared with last year*.   Both the financial return and the skills preparedness of a college degree have come into question.  In fact, a 2013 “Bridge That Gap” Index revealed that only 39 percent of employers believed college graduates they interviewed over the past two years were prepared for a job in their field. Meanwhile, a 2013 College Board report estimates that it takes 18 years for a college student to “break even” on the costs of their bachelor’s degree.

It’s against this backdrop that Sonic Foundry, the trusted leader for video content management and webcasting solutions, releases the results of a national survey with the Center for Digital Education revealing that half of faculty at universities are employing the flipped classroom model or have plans to implement it within the next 12 months. In fact, the Sonic Foundry survey – the first comprehensive national faculty survey on this technology-driven approach – reveals that:

  • The top factors driving U.S. colleges to embrace flipped classrooms include: the ability to provide a better learning experience for students, greater availability of technologies that support the model and positive results from initial trials.
  • Among those employing it already, 57 percent of faculty agree that their flipped classroom is “extremely successful” or “successful”, citing key student benefits of “improved mastery of information” and “improved retention of information”, at 81 percent and 80 percent of responses respectively.

“There is an imperative to increase the real-time and real-world value of college degrees in order to meet the rising costs of higher education,” said Sean Brown, Senior Vice President, Sonic Foundry.  “Despite the investment of time and effort required to implement the flipped classroom model effectively, the approach is clearly delivering key benefits to both students and faculty and will continue to see increased adoption in the coming months and years.”

Among the biggest challenges with flipped classrooms reported in the survey are the need for professional development to support the model and the amount of time it takes to create course content or reformat existing content.  In fact:

  • 75 percent of faculty indicates that preparing for a flipped classroom takes more time than a traditional class.
  • Despite this, the overwhelming majority – 83 percent of faculty – “strongly agree” or “agree” that the model has positively impacted their attitude towards teaching.
  • Another 86 percent “strongly agree” or “agree” that student attitudes have also improved since adopting the flipped classroom.

“Based on both our research and actual use cases, the flipped classroom model is critical in shifting our educational approach from a passive one to an active one that better prepares college students for their careers ahead by engaging them in the material,” says Joe Morris, Director of Research and Analysis, Center for Digital Education. “Flipping classrooms is at the center of today’s blending learning approach, and is one that makes best use of both faculty and student time when deployed effectively.”

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • The greatest faculty advantages reported are: “more classroom activity/discussion/collaboration”, the “ability to adjust instruction styles on a per student basis”, and “better student performance/grades”.
  • While “business/economics”, “natural sciences” and “engineering” ranked as the disciplines most suitable for the flipped classroom mode, more than ¼ of respondents – 26 percent – indicate that they plan to use flipped classrooms across all disciplines.
  • 69 percent agree that the ideal classroom size for the model is 11-30 students.
  • More than half (51 percent) of faculty record their own video content for their flipped classroom.

“Based upon my experience, the benefits of the flipped classroom model far outweigh the challenges, and I’ve seen the difficulties associated with implementing the model decrease over time as efficiencies are realized,” said Ralph Welsh, lecturer, Clemson University, a highly-ranked university with more than 16,500 undergraduate students. “It has also allowed me to tailor my classroom time more toward answering specific student questions and discussing the material at a more applied higher level of thinking.”

Survey Methodology:

The Center for Digital Education conducted a survey of higher education faculty members to better understand flipped classroom adoption. In total, 309 responses were collected from the members of the Education Exchange, in an online survey during August to October 2013.

While the results from this survey cannot be projected upon the entire population, the results are reflective of those who are members of the Center for Digital Education’s Education Exchange with a maximum sampling error in this survey of +/- 5.6 percentage points at 95% confidence.

* National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2013.

About the Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE advises the industry, conducts relevant research, issues white papers, and produces premier annual surveys and awards programs. CDE also hosts events for the education community. CDE’s media platform includes the quarterly Center for Digital Education’s Special Reports,, email newsletters and custom publications.

About Sonic Foundry®, Inc.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Madison, Wis., Sonic Foundry (OTC: SOFO) is dedicated to transforming how the world works and learns through innovative and scalable technology solutions. Sonic Foundry’s brands include Vidable® and Global Learning Exchange® which help unlock a smarter, more connected world for learners, workers, and entrepreneurs everywhere. For more information visit


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