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Experimental Hybrid Courses That Combine Online Content Delivery With Face To Face Collaborative Problem Solving

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovations in ECE Education III

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.719.1 - 12.719.16



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Paper Authors

author page

Cordelia Brown Purdue University

author page

David Meyer Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Experimental Hybrid Courses That Combine On-Line Content Delivery with Face-to-Face Collaborative Problem Solving


An experimental format is described in which the "lecture content" for core sophomore- and junior-level ECE courses was delivered via on-line streaming video (referred to as “virtual lecture”), and the regularly-scheduled class meeting times were used for instructor-directed, collaborative problem solving sessions (referred to as “directed problem solving”). Traditional lecture divisions of each course were offered simultaneously, to provide students an opportunity to select the course format they felt best matched their individual learning style. The on-line Index of Learning Styles (ILS) tool was used to help students decide which course format to choose. Results, including survey data and comparative performance on common exams, are presented for the initial trials conducted.


The goal of this work was to compare the relative effectiveness of the “traditional lecture” format with non-traditional “hybrid” course formats, specifically in which the roles of in-class and outside-of-class activities were largely “reversed”. So-called “inverted” course formats were created for two core computer engineering classes: a sophomore-level Introduction to Digital Systems Design course, and a junior-level Microprocessor System Design and Interfacing course. Both of these are 4-credit hour courses that include an integrated laboratory. In the experimental formats, the basic lecture content was delivered asynchronously via streaming video, while collaborative solving of homework problems accompanied by a detailed walkthrough of their solutions was done synchronously (i.e., during scheduled class periods) – which we refer to as directed problem solving (DPS). Traditional assigned (outside-of-class) written homework was replaced by collaborative problem solving by students working in small teams (of two students each). Solutions devised by the various teams were evaluated "on the spot" through "self-grading" (based on an instructor-directed solution walk-through), thus providing immediate feedback and eliminating the time, overhead, and expense associated with homework paper collection and grading. Students' scores for the "homework" part of the course grade were determined based on attendance at their assigned DPS section. For the trials completed thus far (one for the sophomore-level course and three for the junior- level course), a traditional lecture division was run in parallel with the experimental DPS division. For the junior-level course, the experimental division was split into multiple sections that each met once/week in lab, facilitating small recitation-style “studio” settings for the DPS sessions. For the sophomore-level course, the experimental division met twice/week in a small classroom (since a “studio” of sufficient size was not available for the DPS sessions). Beginning with the trials conducted Fall 2006, students were instructed to use the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) tool to help them decide which course format might potentially best match their learning style. Specifically, students with some combination of active, visual, and/or global preferences were encouraged to consider choosing the DPS option. While allowing students a choice of course format may have introduced some bias in the exam performance results

Brown, C., & Meyer, D. (2007, June), Experimental Hybrid Courses That Combine Online Content Delivery With Face To Face Collaborative Problem Solving Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2578

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