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Developing and Deploying Flipped Classroom Resources for Renewable Energy Technicians

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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

ECCD Innovations in Energy Engineering & Technology

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.494.1 - 26.494.21



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Paper Authors


Jim Pytel CREATE and Columbia Gorge Community College, The Dalles, OR

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Jim Pytel has taught at Columbia Gorge Community College's Renewable Energy Technology program since Fall 2008. He has taught the basic electronics series, hydraulics, digital electronics series, introduction to wind energy, motor control, wind turbine safe access and rescue, and power generation classes.

Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. He has worked as an electrical engineer for IBM, Hyundai, ADE Semiconductor, and GE Wind. Additionally, Jim served in the US Army as a Captain in the 4th Infantry Division. He is NABCEP certified for Basic PV and has produced a number of popular flipped classroom resources to supplement his lectures and labs.

He has attended the NSF ATE Basic and Advanced FPGA workshops resulting in the modernization of the digital electronics courses to include HDL and programmable logic devices. Additionally, he has attended the NSF ATE Microcontroller workshop and been a participant in the NSF ATE US-Australia Learning Exchange and US-Germany Learning Exchange. His recent partnership with CREATE has resulted in the YouTube channel "bigbadtech", a channel with an increasing number of flipped classroom resources to support technical education for renewable energy technicians.

Jim sincerely believes energy independence through development of renewable energy sources is the correct course for our nation's future and actively promotes and supports development of renewable energy projects in the Pacific Northwest.

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Flipped Classroom Resources for Renewable Energy TechniciansThe flipped classroom approach to instruction uses educational technology to deliver instructionoutside the class and activity based learning inside the class. Students watch lectures at the timeand place of their own choosing at their own pace and concept engagement and application takesplace in the classroom with the guidance of an instructor. This method has been successfullydeployed in teaching renewable energy technicians the basics of DC circuit analysis, hydraulicsand electrical control of hydraulic systems, and digital electronics.There is a pressing need for technicians skilled in the installation, maintenance, repair, andupgrade of renewable energy generation facilities, however, the time commitment of a traditionalclassroom based lecture often precludes those with family obligations or work commitmentsfrom attending rigidly structured renewable energy technician training programs. The flippedclassroom approach allows a degree of flexibility for these learners as well as those alreadyemployed as technicians looking to upgrade their skills.A flipped classroom format allows more exposure time with instrumentation and hands ontroubleshooting activities. These are the skills that are most valued by employers and those thatdirectly contribute towards more productivity and efficiency.This method has been deployed successfully for 6 cohorts of second year students in digitalelectronics and 5 cohorts of first year students in hydraulics and electrical control of hydraulicsystems. This method has been recently expanded to include development of the first year basicelectricity and electronics level 1: DC circuit analysis, class. This presentation will detaildevelopment, deployment, and best practices when adopting such a method.

Pytel, J. (2015, June), Developing and Deploying Flipped Classroom Resources for Renewable Energy Technicians Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23833

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