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Exploring Impacts of a Flipped-instruction Mode for a Disciplinary Computer Applications Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Pedagogy II - Best Teaching Practices

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


J. Blake Hylton Ohio Northern University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Hylton is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Coordinator of the First-Year Engineering experience for the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University. He previously completed his graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, where he conducted research in both the School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering Education. Prior to Purdue, he completed his undergraduate work at the University of Tulsa, also in Mechanical Engineering. He currently teaches first-year engineering courses as well as various courses in Mechanical Engineering, primarily in the mechanics area. His pedagogical research areas include standards-based assessment and curriculum design, including the incorporation of entrepreneurial thinking into the engineering curriculum and especially as pertains to First-Year Engineering.

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Lawrence Funke Ohio Northern University

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Dr. Funke received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2017. He is currently an assistant professor at Ohio Northern University.

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Recent decades have seen a growing popularity of active-learning and flipped-instruction techniques, the two often combined in a marriage of convenience, if not necessity. The merits of active learning techniques have been thoroughly studied and are well documented in the literature, to the extent that some argue that failure to adopt such techniques is analogous to malpractice in the medical community. The other side of that equation however, flipped instruction, has been significantly less studied. This work provides a comparison of two course models for a sophomore mechanical engineering computer applications course – one with and one without a flipped model of instruction.

The setting for this work is a small, private, four-year college. The course under study focuses on programming in the context of engineering problem solving, as well as additional computer topics such as solid modeling and the programming of microcontrollers. This study covers two successive years of this course. In year one, the course was taught under a traditional course model – some pre-class reading, class time devoted substantially to delivery of content, and most student working time accomplished through homework assignments with limited in-class work time. In the second year, a series of video modules were developed to deliver the vast majority of the content and class time was instead used to complete homework problems. The scale and scope of the problem sets were substantially similar between the two years and a common final exam was given under both models.

In addition to analysis of student performance on common assignments and the common final exam, overall course grades are also compared. Survey data related to course content, especially around perceived value of programming in an engineering career context, are also compared. Student perception surveys about the course structure, difficulty, and other such course evaluation elements are also included as a third point of comparison. Student population data is also included to ensure validity of the comparisons between student cohorts.

Hylton, J. B., & Funke, L. (2020, June), Exploring Impacts of a Flipped-instruction Mode for a Disciplinary Computer Applications Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34642

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