How to use Microsoft Flipgrid in university teaching

Video-sharing platforms can increase student engagement and confidence. Here, Seb Dianati shares uses and challenges and offers tips for setting up spaces and topics

Seb Dianati's avatar
21 Jun 2022
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Key Details

This video will cover:

00:19 What is Microsoft Flipgrid?

01:29 Uses of Flipgrid in online teaching and its challenges

04:53 How to log on to Flipgrid


Hello and welcome. My name is Dr Seb Dianati and I’m here from the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland. Today, I want to give you a quick resource demonstration of Microsoft Flipgrid.

Now Flipgrid is an online video-based social-learning platform which is part of Microsoft’s 365 suite. Now the platform allows you to record, or students to record, 30-second to 10-minute videos, and they can send this to their classmates or it can be made public or private, depending on your wishes.

So, the aim of Flipgrid is that students make short videos, and they may comment on each other’s videos, and what the academic might do is set up a space, a Flipgrid space, for those videos to be viewed privately or publicly.

So, the great thing about Flipgrid is that it allows students to see each other online, learn from one another online, and to understand, I guess, the environment of the classroom really on what we call kind of the social-emotional level. And seeing that learning itself is a social and emotional and emotive process, it is something that students can really engage with quite quickly.

The great thing also is that students can provide video responses back to other students, so this is great for peer-to-peer learning. 

In one of the courses, what we’ve used Flipgrid for is to convey key ideas from the readings. So, what we do here is we develop weekly video-based reflective discussions and students would provide a two-minute video about the reading for that week.

So, here we use that in a flipped classroom for pre-class knowledge, [which allows] students to verbalise and to give them, to give the instructor, a different way of showing that they understand the material.  

But you can make different grids for different classes, so this allows for great applications.  

It also offers a method for learning analytics, so this allows you to see your engagement with your students on the platform.

Now Flipgrid is probably best suited for low-stakes, ongoing formative assessment. It could be also used for various other forms of assessment as well. But it’s best if it’s coupled with another high-stakes assessment.

The applications of Flipgrid are quite endless in terms of using it for reflections or essay journals or assignments, reading assignments, icebreaker activities, interviews, case-based scenarios; the list goes on.  

I guess the greatest thing that it develops within students, between students, is the connectedness that students get online. It allows for greater engagement. Students are really engaged. From the anecdotal evidence that we’ve received, Flipgrid is one of the best tools that they’ve used within the university.

It also increases their confidence because it allows students to verbalise, through video blogging about how they express themselves, what they’re feeling in terms of how they’re going, and what the academic can see is how easily they’re understanding the material.

So really to kind of sum up, the advantages of Flipgrid are that from a teacher’s perspective, you can know really quickly if students know the material and you can know that authentically because you can really see and feel and hear your students when you watch a video of them explaining class material, and perhaps not as much so when you’re reading a discussion forum.  

Now any technology comes with its challenges. Now a couple of challenges is that, first of all, students would need a laptop or a camera to use the platform. So that might be an aspect of accessibility issues.

Regarding privacy, you know some students might not feel comfortable or they might feel like they’re saying the wrong thing, so then there might inevitably be some privacy issues.

But above and beyond that, I think one of the key technological issues is that it doesn’t work with the Safari browser, so if you were going to use a platform, you’d need to use Firefox or Chrome or another platform other than Safari.

But probably the greater thing that kind of circumvents the issues of accessibility and privacy is that it does uphold aspects of academic integrity. Being a Microsoft product and signing in through the SSO, it provides for identity-verified assessment, so staff and students know that the person speaking is not only logged in as that person but you can ensure that the person speaking is that person in front of the camera.

So I’m going to quickly now just show you a few steps about how you can log on.

So, first go into your Microsoft Office 365 suite. Next look for Flipgrid in the app section. Once you’ve located it, press Flipgrid and log on using your university Microsoft credentials.  

Once logged on at admin.flipgrid.com, go to “create a new group”. In here, we’ll call this “your major lecture” perhaps, and inside your group, we’re going to develop a new topic. This might be your various tutorial groups for that classroom. So now in our new topic, we’re going to develop an introductory Flipgrid topic together. Now we’ve created our test topic and there we are.  

This link allows us to provide the space for other students now to develop their videos. So this link can be sent to other staff members, to students, and then they can add their videos here.  

So let me quickly show you what it looks like from a student’s perspective. What we need to do is click the member’s view at the top right-hand-side corner, and from here you press the blue button, and this pretty much is the only function the students have, so you know that there’s not too many technological issues or problems that might arise.  

Once here, we can trim or add particular emojis or customise our video. We put our name to it and we’re done. So that’s how easy it is.

And so Flipgrid provides a secure, accessible, engaging, employable product that allows students to engage and connect with their staff, but also, I guess, students to engage and know each other as students.

Seb Dianati is a senior lecturer in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland.

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