Professor Flips On-campus Course After Teaching MOOC

Professor Flips On-campus Course After Teaching MOOC

Flipped Class:  Introduction to Cryptography

Instructor: Dan Boneh
Department/School: Computer Science / School of Engineering
Course: Introduction to Cryptography (CS 255)
Audience: ~150 Stanford Students (4-5 Graduate Student TAs)
Teaching and Learning Approach: Flipped Classroom

Goals: Based on his experience teaching massive open online course (MOOC) versions of his class, Dan Boneh wanted to modify his approach to teaching the on-campus course to make class content more self-contained.

Approach: Boneh ensured that the materials for each lecture and class session included background information and supplemental online resources to help support students who may not have come into the course with all of the necessary prerequisite knowledge.

In-class Strategies: Sequence of Questions, Applications, Problem-solving

Flipping the class gave Boneh more time to engage with students in class.  Since basic concepts were covered in the pre-recorded lecture videos, Boneh focused face-to-face class time on answering questions and covering the complex parts of the material more slowly and with more examples.

Online or Out-of-Class Activities: Students watched lecture videos and completed assignments from Dan Boneh’s Cryptography I massive open online course (MOOC) on Coursera. On-campus students were assigned three additional homework assignments and three programming assignments.

Lessons Learned:  Many students cross-referenced the MOOC syllabus and the on-campus syllabus to determine which videos cover the “most important” concepts. Recording lecture videos for the the MOOC was “an incredible amount of work” and the process encouraged Boneh think more deeply about the material.

Plans for Next Iteration of Course: Recording in short, self-contained segments to make it easier to update videos as needed.



Dan Boneh

Professor Dan Boneh heads the applied cryptography group at the Computer Science department at Stanford University. Professor Boneh's research focuses on applications of cryptography to computer security. His work includes cryptosystems with novel properties, web security, security for mobile devices, digital copyright protection, and cryptanalysis. He is the author of over a hundred publications in the field and a recipient of the Packard Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Award, and the RSA award in mathematics. Last year Dr. Boneh received the Ishii award for industry education innovation. Professor Boneh received his Ph.D from Princeton University and joined Stanford in 1997.


Faculty Experimentation (Video)
Faculty Panel: Research Opportunities in Online and Blended Learning May 22, 2013 (Video)
Teaching Online Yields Lessons about Learning Stanford Report, May 31, 2013
Harnessing the power of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Teaching Commons - Teaching Talk Blog Post May 24, 2013

*Adapted from Dan Boneh's Flipped Classroom Report on the Coursera Flipped Classroom Field Guide

Case Study Contributed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning