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Effect of Flipping the Classroom on Student Performance in First-Year Engineering Courses

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

FPD 5: Course Delivery Methods and Issues

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.451.1 - 24.451.13



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Paper Authors


Kathleen A. Ossman University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Kathleen Ossman is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati. She teaches courses to freshmen engineering students that require the application of mathematics and physics to solving applied problems from a variety of engineering disciplines and utilize MATLAB for solving computationally intensive problems and analyzing data. She earned a BSEE and MSEE from Georgia Tech in 1982 and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1986. She is a member of IEEE and ASEE.

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Gregory Warren Bucks University of Cincinnati

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Effect of Flipping the Classroom on Student Performance in First-Year Engineering CoursesAt a large university in the mid-west, three common courses were introduced during the 2012-2013 school year to provide first-year students with hands-on experiences in engineering and alink between engineering and the required mathematics and science courses. Two of thesecourses, Engineering Models I and II, form a two-semester sequence of interdisciplinary coursesin which students apply fundamental theory from algebra, trigonometry, calculus and physics torelevant engineering applications chosen from a variety of disciplines. MATLAB® is introducedand progressively developed as a programming tool to enable students to explore engineeringconcepts, to investigate solutions to problems too complex for hand solutions, to analyze andpresent data effectively, and to develop an appreciation of the power and limitations of computertools. Students are introduced to such ideas as interpolation, curve-fitting, and numericdifferentiation and integration, through applications areas such as data analysis, imageprocessing, communications, position tracking, basic mechanics, and system modeling. Bothcourses culminate with an end-of-semester team project requiring the students to use MATLAB®to develop a solution to an open-ended design problem.The Engineering Models sequence was required for all incoming first-year engineering andengineering technology students in 2012-2013. There were 960 students enrolled in Models I inthe fall semester, including approximately 150 students from outside the College of Engineeringand Applied Science. Lectures, recitation activities, homework assignments, exams, andprojects were common across all sections, though variation existed in how the lectures weredelivered. Half of the instructors provided demonstrations using MATLAB® in addition to thePowerPoint presentations while the other half simply read directly from the PowerPoint slides.In the end of course surveys, students commented that more time spent on examples of usingMATLAB® during lecture would have been both more interesting and helpful in preparing themfor recitation activities and homework assignments.This year, 2013-2014, a flipped pedagogy is being implemented in the Engineering Models I andII courses. In a flipped pedagogy, traditional lecture content is assigned as homework, freeingthe instructor to use the designated lecture time to focus on solving problems and addressingcommon misconceptions. For the Engineering Models I and II courses, videos were createdfrom the lecture material covered previously. Students are required to watch these videos priorto lecture and take a short quiz at the start of each lecture. Students bring their laptops to lectureand lecture time is spent using the concepts covered in the videos to solve problems.In order to measure the effectiveness of the flipped pedagogy on student performance, we willcompare student performance on exams, projects, and assignments with performance from lastyear. The final exams for Models I and Models II were not returned to students so many of theproblems will be repeated for the final exams this year. The exams cannot be identical due tosome shifting of topics. In addition, retention data for this year will be compared to retentiondata from last year.

Ossman, K. A., & Bucks, G. W. (2014, June), Effect of Flipping the Classroom on Student Performance in First-Year Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20342

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