Flipped Classrooms Flipped Fraternity Houses

Today, in the world of academics and education the biggest buzz revolves around the word “flipped”.  As in —  “Flipped Classroom”….where the  homework for the kids is to watch carefully prepared on-line videos lasting about 5-15 minutes. The following day, the videos would be discussed in intensive, highly interactive, ‘hands on’ classes where teacher and students are engaged in small groups.

It’s a neat idea that makes the teachers more like parents who help with the homework; and the “homework” more like what kids are used to doing anyway ….watching stuff on a screen.

{The New York Times has been running a series on Flipped Classrooms; well worth reading is “Turning Education Upside Down.}  Start here.

The word “Flipped” also applies to MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses – which are in the process of turning the world of higher education upside down. Within the past two years millions have already taken MOOC courses, free, worldwide. Tom Friedman calls MOOCs:  The Professor’s Big Stage,  If you don’t know about them see what Tom has to say.

Somewhat akin to the Flipped Classroom, a MOOC comes about when a gifted university professosrs (from elite Universities) put together a series of video lectures for on-line viewing. Students engage by text, text chat, email, group forums, the whole enchilada. They are self-directed learners of the best kind. The courses are sometimes offered for credit. Most often not…with many “experts” predicting that full degree programs are on the MOOC horizon – free.

What has all this to do with Fraternities? Youth Jamboree’s?

Here’s a brand new idea — a Flipped Fraternity House.What would a “Flipped Fraternity House” look like?

The first and most obvious characteristic of a Flipped House is that it would NOT be “idle and empty in the summer”. Neither would it be a House where just about anyone who wanted to rent a cheap room in the summer could live there. Neither would it be dirty and disgusting; or locked up so tight no one could visit without breaking and entering.

A Flipped House, in the summer, would be crammed and jammed

……….with high-energy youngsters, led by passionate adults determined to enrich the lives of those entrusted to them. {A partial list of such organizations found here.} The sheer number of these organizations and the quality of their sponsors is solid-gold proof they do very good, very important work.

What better place to bring young adults than a college campus? For most of them their stay in a Greek Chapter House would be the first time they had ever spent much time on a college campus. How about six nights and five days, crammed and jammed with stuff that makes for lifetime memories of incalculable . I like to think of the Houses as places of grand intellectual and physical nourishment   – Greenhouses that are in fact  “Mighty oaks where tall acorns grow.”.

As the late, great Steve Jobs would tell you —>> inspiration leads to perspiration;  perspiration leads to achievement. Here is such case, not just for the kids who actually come in the summer, but also for the collegians inside the Houses that help make all this happens happen.  This is win-win for everyone!  We call it the Eugene Youth Jamboree  ? July 2014 —  (See Eugene Youth Jamboree)

A Flipped House Brings Great Value All Year Long

It’s not complicated.

What could possibly be more in keeping with the purpose of the 5,500 Chapter Houses situated on more than 800 college campus than to enrich the lives of those who sleep inside them ? Presently,, this is the case nine months of the year. But why not all year-long! All 365 days!

That is their primary purpose  — if not their sole purpose. 

That’s the reason they were built. That’s the reason they exist.

Why would there be any resistance to the idea of deeply embracing a summer-time program meant to fill these Houses with young adults “wide open” for experiences that would almost surely bring benefits good for a lifetime? {See John Hibbs Jamboree experience.}

Fraternity Houses — Open or Shut?

Who says that Fraternities should be restricted ONLY for those enrolled in the regular school year? Who says they should ONLY be for those enrolled on the campus?

Rather than a sign on the door which reads  “Closed For The Summer” how about a sign that reads: “Showcasing Young Adults in Action — all summer long”.  Isn’t it both morally repugnant and financial folly to NOT have programs such as these? What better way to reverse the image of Fraternities as PARTY, PARTY, PARTY than by  empowering young adults of every stripe — it novel, indeed jaw-dropping ways?

See Driving a Stake Through the Heart of Animal House.

The Hard Truth – and the Good News

The good news — and it is very, very good indeed — is that a Flipped House could very likely improve the “regular” core Mission of the Fraternities during the “regular” school year.

Why a Flipped House is so good for the “regular” school year.

The most obvious, most glittering, reason is that a Flipped House would be required to meet the needs of  the Youth Organizations in charge of the kids who come in the summer.  The Houses would have squeaky clean kitchens and bathrooms, immaculate living and dining areas; waxed floors, gleaming windows; bedrooms to be proud of. (A great deal of all this  would be done the same way Tom Sawyer got the his playmates to do crummy work….from organizations like Northwest Youth Corps who make ‘hard work’ part of their Mission.) A Flipped House would gleam even brighter when the (summertime) kids left and the “regulars” arrive.

This would set  a tone (and culture) for keeping the House in such condition all year long.

The less obvious, but arguably more important, is that a Flipped House would change the perception of the House in the community it operates. That in turn would lead to larger numbers of students who would be encouraged to rush; a larger pool to choose from for purposes of becoming a member.

Just as Flipped Classrooms and MOOCs are leading the tidal wave of Big Change in eduction, now is the time for Fraternities to ride their own “Flipped” Wave.

It will take a lot more than a Jamboree to  crush the perception that Fraternities and the movie Animal House are not one and the same. But it’s a good start, especially in Tracktown USA, aka, home of the high-flying Ducks.

Most especially if the kids are residing where track icons once lived — like Bill Dellinger, Jerry Tarr, Dyrol Burleson, Roscoe Divine.

More later! I promise.

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About oregonhibbs

Just past 70 I'm passionate about improving access to education, worldwide, sailing, Duck football (I live in the shadow of the University of Oregon in Eugene) and connecting with people with ideas and work that "can change the world".

Posted on October 13, 2013, in A Youth Alliance/Oregon Jamboree, Flipped Fraternities & Restoration, Khan,Coursera,Etc. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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