Asee peer logo

Development of Leadership Through Hands-On Learning Activities in a Flipped Microprocessors Classroom

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Insights and Practices for Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ricky T. Castles East Carolina University

visit author page

Dr. Ricky Castles is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He is primarily affiliated with the ECU Electrical Engineering concentration. His research work focuses on the use of wireless sensor networks, microcontrollers, and physiological data collection for a variety of applications. His primary interest is in the area of adaptive tutorial systems, but he has ongoing projects in the area of hospital patient health monitoring. He is actively engaged in K-12 outreach through several venues including Summer Ventures, high school STEM day, the N.C. Science Olympiad, a Math Science Partnership grant, volunteer work with a local literacy camp, Boy Scouts Robotics Merit Badge counseling, and teaching the science portion of VBS and children's Sunday School at his local church.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Electrical engineering students often find microprocessors to be a challenging course since it involves learning to read lengthy datasheets and learning to program at the device level. For two semesters, the Microprocessors course at <this university> has been taught in a flipped classroom format allowing students to watch online lectures before attending each lecture period and to allow students more opportunities to ask questions and complete learning activities in class. During the scheduled lecture period students are encouraged to work with each other to complete hands-on in-class exercises allowing them to evaluate their understanding of the material presented in the online lecture and the assigned reading. Such in-class exercises may involve answering conceptual questions, writing code, or building circuits. It was observed by the instructor in previous semesters that some students who had a good grasp of course concepts became volunteer student leaders and helped others on their journey to learning course concepts by sharing approaches to solving problems and explaining difficult course concepts to others. It was also observed that some students did not exhibit leadership and relied on lab partners to do much of the work while they were not engaged. Leadership can also go beyond simply helping others, but taking initiative and seeking out assistance, coming prepared for class, learning to delegate responsibilities in a team project, and following through in completing the work expected. Leadership is also demonstrating by recognizing the assets of those in one’s team and finding ways to work with others effectively to complete assigned tasks. In the Fall 2016 semester, course leadership was formalized in the Microprocessors course at <this University>. Students were encouraged to engage in leadership through coming to class prepared, helping other students learn, and asking questions when they struggled to understand course concepts. Leadership outside of the class was encouraged through the formation of study groups. The instructor also created a Piazza site for the students to use an online forum allowing them to ask questions and to answer each other’s questions. Students were surveyed at the midpoint and end of the semester in order to reflect on their own participation in the course and to evaluate the leadership of their lab partner. Students were encouraged to provide constructive feedback in order to help their lab partner improve and to develop a plan for their own leadership development. As part of a funded leadership grant, the instructor kept an online journal of each day’s activities and the opportunities students had to engage in leadership through each of these activities. One lab session was also videoed to formalize the observation of student leadership. This video was reviewed and coded to assess the types of interactions the students had with their lab partners, other peers, and the instructor. Various leadership qualities were noted including asking questions when having difficulty, seeking help from other students, seeking help from the instructor, and collaboration in teams.

Castles, R. T. (2017, June), Development of Leadership Through Hands-On Learning Activities in a Flipped Microprocessors Classroom Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28173

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: © 2017 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