Unit 2: Planning the Pre-class lesson


What makes an engaging lesson?

monitor.png Before we begin, please watch this video from Paul Jantec, Carolyn Durley, and Graham Johnson, that discusses Flipped Classroom as a Vehicle to the Future. While you are watching the video, think about what methods the presenters are using to engage you in their message.

brainstorming.png Now take a few moments to think about this question- What aspects of the video did you feel were engaging? Take a look at my ideas.

A pre-class lesson may have all or some of the engagement techniques we thought of above. It also has the very important characteristic of giving students control over their learning. Some benefits of student directed learning are:

  • Students can review content presentations in small segments, which helps students focus and process information
  • Students can manipulate environmental factors which affect learning, such as lighting, noise level, screen size, interaction with other learning resources, etc.
  • Content based presentations are controlled by the learner, allowing for differentiation in learning
  • Making students responsible for their learning has a positive effect on engagement

As you have discovered, the pre-class lesson is more than just recording yourself giving a lecture. It requires planning in order to properly engage your students in your concepts and message.

In this module, you will:

  • Create a storyboard or plan for your pre-class lesson
  • Write a script of talking points to provide additional guidance
  • Compose questions to check your student's understanding

How should I plan my Storyboard?

Storyboard FC.png

When planning a storyboard for a pre-class lesson, you must first determine your content. What objectives would benefit from direct instruction? What concepts can be taught through asynchronous instruction? Once you determine what you will cover in the pre-class lesson, you may also want to consider the following factors in designing your storyboard or plan:

1. Format

  • Ask yourself, "Is video the right choice for the pre-class lesson?"
  • Consider alternate delivery methods, such as guided research, self paced lessons, etc.

2. Source

  • Before creating new lessons, consider using open content
  • YouTube, Khan Academy, iTunes U, and Merlot, may be good sources for lessons
  • Review lessons carefully to ensure your learning objectives are met
  • Respect Copyright laws

3. Length

  • Keep each lesson to a unique topic
  • Lessons should be short, no longer than 15-20 minutes

4. Post Production

  • Remember to plan for visual cues in your storyboard
  • Annotations can make videos more dynamic
  • Zooming in and out can call attention to specific items and enhance comprehension
  • Use callouts to note key elements
  • Additional media elements (videos, images, music, etc) can also be added in post production

How can creating a script contribute to an engaging pre-class lecture?

Script FC.png

A script can be included in the notes section of your PowerPoint slides, or in a completely separate document. It is used to organize your thoughts for a pre-class lesson. When writing your script, keep the following points in mind:


  • Your outline may include just enough to improvise the important points or may be written in sentences, depending on your preference
  • Keep your talking points short and sweet
  • Focus on the most important and interesting aspects
  • Long scripts may discourage spontaneity and creativity


  • Try to animate your voice while reading your script
  • Changes in inflection help keep interest
  • Using a conversational tone is engaging to your audience
  • Recording the talking points with another person allows for a natural conversation
  • Humor can make your topic seem fun and interesting

How can I compose an effective knowledge check?

A knowledge check is a question, or set of questions, that can be delivered throughout the lesson. The purpose of the knowledge check is formative assessment. Keep these ideas in mind when writing your assessment:

  • Focus on the main points that refer to your lesson objectives
  • Assessments can test recall of facts, but checking understanding of the concepts is more beneficial
  • Questions can also be written and used for your students to reflect on the concepts and their learning
  • Writing feedback for your questions can provide students guidance on concepts they are struggling with

Test Your Understanding

Please use the following quiz to test and refine your understanding of the concepts in this unit:

Take the quiz to check your understanding

Apply your Knowledge

1. Share what you have learned by composing a plan for your pre-class lesson. Post your plan in the discussion tab on the top of this page. Here are some examples of what plans may look like:

  • A link to open content lecture, with questions, activities, or requirements that relate to your objectives
  • An outline for self directed activity that students will complete before class
  • A storyboard and script with knowledge check questions

2. Reply to a classmate's post in the discussion area and comment on their pre-class lesson plan. Please be sure to offer constructive and helpful comments!

Putting it all Together

Here are some resources that will help you discover open content, or learn how to record a pre-class lecture of your own:

4.png Now that you have completed Unit 2, click here to start Unit 3: Planning the Classroom Activity.


Bergmann, Jonathan, and Aaron Sams. Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Everyday. International Society for Technology in Education, 2012.

Gerstein, Jackie, "The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture." User Generated Education. 13, June 2011. 19, Oct. 2012.

Navigate to: ETAP 623 Fall 2012 Home | Maree's Portfolio Page | Maree's Mini Course Intro Page