Asee peer logo

Classroom Flip in a Senior-level Engineering Course and Comparison to Previous Version

Download Paper |


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

Hey You: Effectively Engaging Students in the Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.314.1 - 25.314.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jeffrey A. Laman Pennsylvania State University, University Park

visit author page

Jeffrey Laman is a professor of civil engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in structural engineering. He has taught at the university level for more than 20 years before which he was a practicing structural engineer. Laman's research interests are in the area of bridge behavior and response and progressive collapse and more recently in engineering education at the undergraduate level. Laman is the 2010-11 recipient of the Harry West Teaching Award in civil engineering.

visit author page


Mary Lynn Brannon Pennsylvania State University, University Park

visit author page

Mary Lynn Brannon is the Instructional Support Specialist at the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, College of Engineering, at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. She has a master's of arts degree in education and human development, specializing in educational technology leadership. Her work focuses on projects that measure and assess student perceptions of learning related to their experiences with engineering course innovations. She has worked extensively in the design of assessment tools for course methods and activities. She is a Faculty Development Consultant with previous experience in instructional design, and the instructor of the Graduate Assistant Seminar for engineering teaching assistants at Penn State.

visit author page


Irene B. Mena Pennsylvania State University, University Park

visit author page

Irene B. Mena has a B.S. and M.S. in industrial engineering, and a Ph.D. in engineering education. Her research interests include first-year engineering and graduate student professional development.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Phase-In of Classroom Flip in the Redesign of a Senior-Level Engineering Course and Outcome Comparison to Previous Version of CourseAbstractAs students enter the final year of an engineering curriculum, an increased responsibility for self-directed learning is highly desirable. Students about to embark on a career must independently beable to meet professional development demands in a rapidly changing engineering environment.Students who arrive in class with assigned reading completed, notes reviewed, and prepared forclassroom activities are developing the ability to be self-directed learners. Limited classroomcontact time can be much more effectively utilized by focusing on concepts and applicationsidentified by students as needing further review and explanation. This paper describes changesimplemented to a Civil Engineering “Structural Design of Foundations” course at a mid-Atlanticresearch university. These included short pre-class assignments and quizzes that were designedto increase students’ preparation for the next class meeting, as such flipping class meetingpreparation to outside the classroom. A benefit of these changes is that the instructor cansignificantly reduce the time spent lecturing and focus on application of concepts andunderstanding of processes. Focusing on in-class student activities fosters student-centeredlearning with the student having the responsibility to prepare for each class session.The instructor, a professor of civil engineering with over 20 years of teaching experience and 10years of professional experience, originally developed three undergraduate structural engineeringdesign courses to encompass new design specifications. After many years of teaching the“Structural Design of Foundations” course using primarily lecture, the instructor saw a need todeliver the course in a way that prepares students for the capstone design experience, which is ahighly active learning environment. The instructor received the Civil Engineering department’s2010-11 teaching award that is being used to fund this course development and study. As suchthe instructor is working with the college teaching and learning center’s instructional supportspecialist who assists with course design, assessment surveys and collection of data that will beused to compare with previous year’s quiz and exam performances. The newly revised course isbeing offered in the current Fall 2011 semester. Data is currently being collected for study.The present study describes a number of strategies to address these issues in teaching a seniorlevel structural design course. This course was previously taught traditionally using lecture,assigned reading, design problems, and examinations. The study compares prior outcomes of thecourse on the basis of examination assessments and design problem performance to similarmeasures in the newly designed version. The redesigned course adopts a strategy of gradualwarm-up activities to full classroom flip, moving lecture content to outside the classroomthrough the integration of student-centered activities. Online quizzes done prior to classencourage and assess reading comprehension. Individual and group efforts allow students topractice outlining or solving design examples prior to class. Consequently, students are ready tosolve design problems in class in a highly participatory and engaged environment.This paper will describe the current study and share previous results. Those instructors who areinterested in using a classroom flip strategy to prepare students for class may benefit from thispresentation.

Laman, J. A., & Brannon, M. L., & Mena, I. B. (2012, June), Classroom Flip in a Senior-level Engineering Course and Comparison to Previous Version Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21072

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015