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A Flipped Solid Mechanics Course Designed Based on the Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive (ICAP) Framework

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Flipped Classrooms in Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Haolin Zhu Arizona State University

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Dr. Haolin Zhu received her PhD in Solid Mechanics and Computational Science and Engineering from Cornell University. She is currently part of the freshmen engineering education team in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Currently she focuses on designing the curriculum for the freshman engineering program as well as the NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program. She also designs and teaches courses in mechanical engineering at ASU. Her interests include innovative teaching pedagogies for increased retention and student motivation, innovations in non-traditional delivery methods, as well as structured reflective practices throughout the engineering curriculum.

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A Flipped Solid Mechanics Course Designed Based-on the Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive (ICAP) Framework

A Solid Mechanics course has been completely redesigned based on the Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive (ICAP) framework by Chi et al.[1]. According to Chi et al.[1], engagement behaviors can be categorized into one of the four modes: passive, active, constructive, and interactive; and out of these four modes, students’ learning increases when they are more engaged in course materials, from passive to active to constructive to interactive. Examples of passive learning include listening to a lecture; reading a book; and observing a video; etc.[2]. While active learning means students are actively manipulating course materials, for example, they write summaries of the text; take verbatim notes; copy solutions to example problems; pause, play, fast-forward, or rewind a tape; etc.[2]. Characteristics of constructive activities include new ideas being generated from outputs such as a concept map, a reflection report, self-generated notes, an explanation, etc. that go beyond what was presented[1]. Finally, being interactive means that students are interacting with others and each person involved needs to be constructive. Examples of interactive learning activities include, two students arguing and defending a position; two students asking and answering comprehension questions; etc.[1]. While the phrase “active learning” has been used a lot when one talks about a flipped classroom, there are different levels of “active learning” activities and a course that is designed to focus on more constructive and interactive learning activities will more likely enhance students’ learning.

To promote constructive and interactive learning, a new flipped course structure as well as various materials were designed and developed for a solid mechanics course and the new flipped model was implemented during the spring 2015 semester to a section of 93 mechanical and aerospace engineering students. The paper will describe examples of activities designed and implemented around each of the four learning modes, with a focus on constructive and interactive learning. Challenges to design and implement a course like this will also be discussed. The class taught in spring 2014 using the traditional lecture method will be used as the control group and the one taught in spring 2015 by the same instructor using the flipped model will serve as the experimental group. End-of-semester course evaluation survey data will be analyzed and compared for both groups both quantitatively and qualitatively. Students’ performances on three in-class preliminary exams will also be compared for both groups. Results suggest that the flipped model, designed using the ICAP framework was favored by students for various reasons, e.g., it better stimulates student thinking; it enhances a deeper understanding of the course materials; it made learning easier; it reduced total amount of time needed to study for this course; it helped to build a relationship among the peers; etc. It was also suggested that the flipped model may have helped students who would otherwise fail the class to successfully complete the class.

References [1] Chi, M.T., and Wylie, R., “The ICAP Framework: Linking Cognitive Engagement to Active Learning Outcomes”, in Educational Psychologist, 49(40), pp219-243, 2014.

[2] Chi, M.T., “Active-constructive-interactive: a conceptual framework for differentiating learning activities,” in Topics in Cognitive Science, 1, pp73-105, 2009.

Zhu, H. (2016, June), A Flipped Solid Mechanics Course Designed Based on the Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive (ICAP) Framework Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26319

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