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Comparing Pedagogical Strategies for Inquiry-based Learning Tasks in a Flipped Classroom

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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

Novel Student Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.375.1 - 26.375.12



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Paper Authors


Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

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Samuel Alexander Mihelic Oregon State University

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Samuel Mihelic is a research asistant in Dr. Yantasee's lab in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Oregon Health and Science University. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.S. in mathematics from Oregon State University in 2014. He worked as an engineering education researcher with Dr. Koretsky at Oregon State University in 2013 and 2014 where he helped develop and deliver student worksheets for flipped classroom teaching of undergraduate junior-level heat transfer concepts. He was a tutor for a sophomore level physics course at Oregon State University in 2013 and a freelance tutor of highschool mathematics in 2010.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University


Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot Vigeant is a professor of chemical engineering and an associate dean of engineering at Bucknell University. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and her M.S. and Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, from the University of Virginia. Her primary research focus is on engineering pedagogy at the undergraduate level. She is particularly interested in the teaching and learning of concepts related to thermodynamics. She is also interested in active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, and in the ways hands-on activities and technology in general and games in particular can be used to improve student engagement.

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Katharyn E. K. Nottis Bucknell University

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Dr. Nottis is an Educational Psychologist and Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her research has focused on meaningful learning in science and engineering education, approached from the perspective of Human Constructivism. She has authored several publications and given numerous presentations on the generation of analogies, misconceptions, and facilitating learning in science and engineering education. She has been involved in collaborative research projects focused on conceptual learning in chemistry, chemical engineering, seismology, and astronomy.

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Is Analogy an Effective Pedagogical Strategy for Inquiry-Based Learning?The flipped classroom environment has become increasingly utilized in recent years. In a flippedclassroom, students watch video-recorded lectures at home which frees time to engage them insocially-mediated, active learning in class. Such a flipped class instructional design is based onthe principles that class time should be used to elicit deep thinking and that students learn betterthrough discussion and negotiation with their peers. Thus, appropriate activities focus on themost difficult aspects of learning a subject, such as repairing the robust misconceptions studentsbring with them to class. While there has been attention to mechanics and principles of how todeliver the lecture component asynchronously, less attention has been given to systematicallyexplore the most effective instructional design for the in class activities. This study investigatestwo variations of an activity to repair a robust misconception in heat transfer through an inquiry-based in-class activity. In the direct condition, a direct thought experiment is used while in theanalogy condition, the activity also encompasses the use of analogy.This study focuses on a common, robust misconception within heat transfer, the Rate vs. Amountmisconception (where students conflate the factors that affect amount of energy transferred in agiven physical situation with the factors that affect the rate of transfer). In the direct condition,students were placed in groups and asked to design two experiments, the first of whichconsidered the cooling of a beverage by comparing crushed ice to cubed ice. For eachexperiment, they then worked through a scaffolded set of short answer questions. In the analogycondition, a football stadium analogy is drawn to explain the heat transfer concepts that governthe first experiment from the direct condition. The rate of fans entering is analogous to the rate ofenergy transfer while the amount of fans entered is analogous to the amount of energytransferred. Both core activities were designed to be completed in a 50 minute class section.Students in both conditions were given identical post-class analysis and reflection activities.The participants were enrolled in a junior-level heat transfer class, where the entire cohort mettogether for traditional lecture twice a week (instead of recorded video) and were divided into sixflipped class sections twice a week. During the first week and next to last week of the term, theHeat Transfer Concept Inventory (HECI) was administered to all students in the class. This validand reliable instrument was used to measure learning gains. Four additional items were added tothe HECI to further investigate the students’ conceptions of rate vs. amount. During the thirdweek, the six different class sections were divided evenly between the direct condition and theanalogy condition. The same instructor delivered all the activities. 62 students in the directcondition participated and 68 students in the analogy condition. The Institutional Review Boardapproved the research and participants signed informed consent forms. Preliminary analysissuggests that students in the direct condition had significantly greater learning gains for the ratevs. amount misconception items than in the analogy condition. However, unobserved effectssuch as similarities in problem structure and visual representations provided in the directcondition activities and the HECI may be influencing students’ response to the problems. (Preferregular session).

Koretsky, M., & Mihelic, S. A., & Prince, M. J., & Vigeant, M. A., & Nottis, K. E. K. (2015, June), Comparing Pedagogical Strategies for Inquiry-based Learning Tasks in a Flipped Classroom Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23714

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