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Design and Preliminary Data from a Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) Study in a Geotechnical Engineering Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Tales from the Flip Side

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kimberly Warren UNC Charlotte

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Dr. Kimberly Warren is an Associate Professor at UNC Charlotte who specializes in the field of Geotechnical Engineering, a discipline of Civil Engineering. She holds her Civil Engineering degrees from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University. Her disciplinary research primarily involves the use and monitoring of geosynthetic materials (polymeric materials) incorporated into Civil Engineering Structures including roadways and earth retaining structures. She is currently serving as the Director of Student Learning and Assessment in her Department and is charged with overseeing multiple programs that target student success and retention. Due to her strong passion for teaching and her current responsibilities in her Department, Dr. Warren is now pursuing educational research and programmatic improvement funding opportunities. Dr. Warren has been awarded the UNC Charlotte College of Engineering teaching award for her dedication and excellence in teaching.

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Meagan Padro UNC Charlotte

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Meagan Padro earned her M.A. in Psychology with concentrations in Cognitive Science and Quantitative Analysis at UNC Charlotte in May 2019. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in School Psychology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has extensive research experience in the field of psychology. Her thesis explored the influence of individual differences in executive functioning on learning outcomes in active learning environments.

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The pace and delivery style of a traditional engineering lecture makes it difficult for students to stay engaged, motivated, and achieve higher levels of learning in the classroom. Even with an excellent instructor, many students have a hard time managing their time in the classroom and are forced to use a ‘write down now, learn later’ strategy. Flipped classrooms have gained traction in recent years because this instructional method enables the student to begin the learning process outside of class at their own pace (still under the guidance of the instructor), digest the material prior to class, and subsequently, use the in-class time to participate in active learning strategies that increase engagement between faculty and students and enhance comprehension of the material. This study pilots a Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) instructional model in a required civil engineering course to formally assess student engagement, perceptions, learning, and gains. This study will investigate whether a PFC model enables students to reach higher-order cognitive skills in accordance with Bloom’s Taxonomy. This paper is a work in progress but it presents the extensive research design, summarizes the preliminary student data from this study, and compares the data acquired from the control and treatment groups for the first two content modules (Test 1 and Test 2 data). Extensive qualitative and quantitative data were collected, and the preliminary results are promising. There appears to be a trend of improved overall student performance on quiz and test questions in some areas of the course and there are indications that this instructional model impacts the student’s ability to reach higher order cognitive skills in accordance with Blooms Taxonomy. Qualitative feedback collected during focus group interviews clearly align with the objectives of this study, and the treatment group participants have expressed value in the additional time created from the PFC instructional model. Students describe the flipped classroom as a more relaxed and effective learning environment. The formative feedback regarding the technology and use of time in the flipped classroom collected during this study has been invaluable to the continuous improvement process of this instructional model.

Warren, K., & Padro, M. (2019, June), Design and Preliminary Data from a Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) Study in a Geotechnical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32597

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