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An Inverted Teaching Model for a Mechanics of Materials Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Statics and Strength of Materials

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.176.1 - 25.176.26



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Paper Authors


Jeffery S. Thomas Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Jeffery Thomas is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectura,l and Environmental Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo. He received a B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Missouri S&T. He is a licensed Professional Engineer. His technical interests are in mechanical characterization, construction, and the influence of force on biological systems. His artistic interests are in music.

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Timothy A. Philpot Missouri University of Science & Technology

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An Inverted Teaching Model for a Mechanics of Materials Course Instructors at [institution omitted] have experimented with teaching a Mechanics ofMaterials course in an inverted format since 2008. Students learn the course concepts outside ofthe classroom, using a textbook, animations and videos developed by the authors, and work onhomework either individually or in groups during the optional class time. Over 1200 students in 18 course sections have participated in and helped refine thismodel. A subset of this group was compared to students in the other sections, which were taughtin a more traditional lecture format. No statistically significant difference between the twogroups was found based on performance on the common final exams. The authors are currentlyinvestigating how the inverted and non-inverted groups perform in the follow-on StructuralAnalysis course. Students in the inverted group take eight multiple-choice exams and a common finalexam. Homework is assigned but not graded. The exams are given in a computer lab, and eachstudent receives an individualized set of questions. The authors have prepared over 1800questions suitable for the multiple-choice format and divided them into 220 question categories.So far, 500 of these questions have been processed using Diploma, Respondus and Blackboard tocreate 5000 unique exam questions. Students are provided with a score on each of their examquestions and the class average for each question. The animations and videos used by the students are modular in nature and availableonline. There are 167 animation modules and 230 videos. The animations contain exampleproblems and exercises. The videos are, on average, six minutes in length and cover concepts,demonstrations, problem strategies, problem solutions, and experiments. Lesson notes,additional problem solutions, and old exams are also available to the students. The authors useGoogle Analytics to track how much each piece of content is utilized. The class website wasaccessed 46,500 times, and the content, excluding the animations, was used for a total of 12,700hours during the past 16 months. By tracking how students perform on each multiple-choice question, the authors havedeveloped a concept inventory with numerical rankings from the best to worst understoodconcepts. Combining this with how much each online resource is utilized, the authors can nowtarget future course materials on the least-understood concepts and in the format most preferredby the students. An inverted teaching format would not be appropriate for every college course,but it has helped the authors look at their Mechanics of Materials course in a more scientific,data-driven manner.

Thomas, J. S., & Philpot, T. A. (2012, June), An Inverted Teaching Model for a Mechanics of Materials Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20936

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