slightly open laptop emitting colorful light
  • Are you teaching an online asynchronous course?
  • Do you want to add a video-based humanizing element to your course?
  • Have you been wanting to try Flipgrid?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this post is for you!

What is Flipgrid?

In case you haven’t heard of Flipgrid, it is a video discussion platform that can be used in Canvas (or outside of Canvas). Flipgrid allows you and your students to make short, auto-captioned videos instead of typing out discussion posts. The video posts display in a grid, hence the name Flipgrid. What’s more, Flipgrid is completely free, syncs to your SpeedGrader, and is a great humanizing element for an online asynchronous course!

Flipgrid, Humanizing, & Equity

In a recent @ONE post, Humanizing Your Online Courses with Flipgrid, by Maritez Apigo (who is an Instructional Designer at Contra Costa College, an online and hybrid English and ESL Professor at Contra Costa, an @ONE Online Course Facilitator, and a CVC-OEI Peer Reviewer) highlights the use of Flipgrid to support humanizing and equity efforts.

Strengthening the sense of community and humanizing online learning are inclusive, equity-minded practices…Flipgrid supports a strong sense of community and social presence as students interact with each other and as instructors reply to students beyond text alone…Tone, facial expressions, accents, and the sound of each other’s voices humanize each person and the whole online environment.

What Students Think of Flipgrid

In Maritez’s post, she includes student feedback quotes about using Flipgrid:
  • “In this course, I like the discussions that we’ve been having on Flipgrid. Flipgrid is really easy to learn and a fun place to interact with other classmates.”
  • “One thing that at first I didn’t like because it brought me out of my comfort zone was the Flipgrid assignments but now I see them as valuable and think it’s a great part of this class.”
  • “Initially, I thought that I wouldn’t like Flipgrid because the idea of posting videos of myself online was not appealing at all. But, after doing our first assignment and receiving comments on my videos, I actually like Flipgrid because I feel that I am actually in this class interacting with my fellow English 1A classmates.”
James May of Valencia College also shares his students’ feedback of Flipgrid in his post, Flipping Over Flipgrid:

New Features & Camera-Shy Students

As you may know, recommendations by Mt. SAC’s Distance Learning Committee prompted the formation of a workgroup and an AP on filming, recording, and photography. Item #4 of the President’s Cabinet Action Notes from April 13, 2021 explains the status of this AP, proposed guidelines, and additional comments by the workgroup. Although this AP came about as a result of synchronous Zoom sessions, in my opinion some of the same issues apply with an asynchronous video platform like Flipgrid.
It is a best practice to give students options in the event that for any reason they don’t feel comfortable showing their face or environment on camera. I really appreciate Maritez addressing this issue in her post! Below are her ideas for camera-shy students that allow all students to participate at their comfort level:
example of filters and stickers to hide face/background
  • Flipgrid recently added several new, Zoom-like screen-sharing boards, such as a whiteboard, graph paper, and other fun boards. While recording, these can be accessed under Effects. With a slider bar, students can choose to share just their chosen board or both their camera and the board.
  • Also under Effects, students have the option of “using the rear-facing camera (on any device that has one), pixelating their face with a filter, or inserting a large emoji over” their face and/or background.
  • Flipgrid also recently added a “Mic only” feature under Options, so students can make voice-only recordings.

Using Flipgrid in Canvas

Watch Maritez’s video below to learn how to set up Flipgrid in your course or follow the more detailed step-by-step instructions on our Flipgrid page in the Canvas Faculty Center. Two important notes:
  1. Flipgrid can only be enabled at the course level. There is no way to enable it for all Mt. SAC courses, so you’ll need to follow a few steps before using it in each course, but the benefits of engaging students far outweigh the inconvenience of setup. You’ll get the Consumer Key and Shared Secret from your Flipgrid account.
  2. Even though Flipgrid is a discussion platform, you don’t use the Canvas-native Discussions tool to create a Flipgrid discussion in Canvas; rather, you must set it up as an Assignment and select External Tool as the Submission Type. This will allow it to connect to your SpeedGrader.

Flipgrid Assignment Ideas

If you are looking for creative ways to use Flipgrid, Maritez offers several ideas for a variety of subject areas. Additional multi-discipline examples can be found on our Flipgrid page in the Mt. SAC Canvas Faculty Center and on Flipgrid itself under the Discovery tab, which you’ll see after you make a Flipgrid account and login.

Discover Flipgrid Topics
So are you excited to use Flipgrid to humanize your course and help address equity gaps? 
If you already use Flipgrid, how have you used it? What do your students think of Flipgrid? 
Comment below to let us know!

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