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An Assessment of Student Learning, Perceptions, and Social Capital Development in Undergraduate, Lower-division STEM Courses Employing a Flipped Classroom Pedagogy

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.175.1 - 26.175.15



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Paper Authors


Lori Sowa P.E. University of Alaska Fairbanks

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Lori Sowa received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University (1998) and M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines (1999). She is registered as a professional engineer and is currently an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the University of Alaska Southeast. She is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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Denise Thorsen University of Alaska, Fairbanks

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Denise Thorsen received her B.S. (1985), M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1996) degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

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An Assessment of Student Learning, Perceptions, and Social Capital Development in Undergraduate, Lower-division STEM Courses Employing a Flipped Classroom PedagogyRecent studies suggest that flipped classroom pedagogy can be an effective method of instructionin upper division STEM courses. While not new in the social sciences and humanities, theflipped classroom is an emerging pedagogy in STEM fields, replacing traditional, didacticlectures with active, student-centered learning activities during in-class time. Studies showmixed but overall positive results, with increased conceptual understanding of the material as onepotential benefit. Additionally, the development of social capital, which has been shown to havepositive benefits for student success and retention, has the potential to be increased in a flippedclassroom model. However, questions remain about whether students in lower division courses,particularly freshman, have the study skills required to succeed in flipped classrooms, wherepreparation prior to class and self-motivated learning is required.A pilot study, performed on a freshman level introduction to electrical engineering course usinga flipped pedagogy, assessed learning gains through a pre- and post-concept inventory andhistorical data on exam scores. In addition, students were surveyed about their use of courseresources, collaboration in class, and perceptions and attitudes. The study revealed that whilefreshman students in the course did not watch the pre-recorded lectures prior to class as often asolder students, they did tend to work collaboratively with other students more often than olderstudents. Overall learning gains were similar to historical levels. Building on this pilot study,the current study extends the assessment to other lower-division undergraduate STEM courseswhere instructors have chosen to use flipped classroom pedagogy. Student learning gains will bemeasured by comparison of exam scores with historical data (when available) from coursesdelivered by the same instructors using traditional lecture-style pedagogy. Student use of courseresources, perceptions of learning, collaboration in class, and attitudes towards the style ofinstruction will be measured using a generalized, Likert-scale survey.

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