In Fall 2011, Stanford announced three, free massively open online courses, or MOOCs. Two of these courses, database and machine learning, corresponded to spring 2012 courses that I would be teaching at Vanderbilt University. I recognized that I could use the lecture materials from these classes to “flip” my own classes by having students view lectures before the class meeting, which then could be used for other learning activities. Shortly after this, I had two affective impulses – an inspiration to create and post my own content online, and a hesitation at using lecture material from other faculty, and from other institutions, even when that material was very high quality. This latter hesitation stemmed from concern about what students, faculty, and Vanderbilt might think about my “outsourcing” lectures; and uncertainty over what I might do with class time if not lecture!
Nonetheless, I decided that not using these high quality materials because of insecurity was silly. I was also excited about what I might do in a flipped class, and I didn’t have time and other resources to produce this material myself. So in spring 2012, I plunged in and used the online lectures from the earlier Stanford courses to flip my classes.