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Flipped Classroom and Emotional Learning in an Engineering Leadership Development Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Competency and Skill Development

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Dean H. Lang Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Lang is the Associate Director of the Engineering Leadership Research Program at Penn State University. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Kinesiology with a focus on Biomechanics from Penn State University. Dr. Lang's previous professional experiences and research interests range from mechanical engineering facilities design to research that applied engineering and molecular biology approaches to the study of the skeletal response to mechanical loading. As a Mechanical Engineer, she worked on facility design projects involving mechanical systems that included heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and energy conservation systems, as well as R&D of air conditioning equipment for Navy ships. Additional research interests have included the investigation of relationships among components of the indoor environment, occupants, and energy usage. Specifically, the effects of the indoor environment on occupant health and well-being and in parallel, how socially-mediated energy-saving strategies can increase awareness of energy use and/or increase energy saving behaviors. Dr. Lang's current research interests focus on identifying, assessing, and developing key skills, knowledge, attitudes, and other intrinsic and extrinsic factors required for engineers to effectively lead others, particularly other engineers and across cultures.

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Meg Handley Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Meg Handley is currently the Associate Director for Engineering Leadership Outreach at Penn State University. Previously, Meg served as the Director of the Career & Corporate Connection's office at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Meg holds a PhD in Workforce Education at Penn State, where she focused on interpersonal behaviors and their impact on engineering leadership potential.

Meg is a board certified coach with experience in developing students' leadership and professional competencies through teaching and one-on-one coaching. She is most interested in developing student knowledge of leadership to impact their successful transition to the workplace.

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Andrew Michael Erdman The Pennsylvania State University

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Andrew M. "Mike" Erdman received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State and his M.S. from USC. Erdman has also taken courses at RPI, Union, UCLA, UCSB, MIT, and Dartmouth. At Rocketdyne (Pratt & Whitney), he helped design the Space Shuttle. As manager of Reactor Safety Analysis, Experimental Engineering, and Fluid Dynamics Technology at KAPL (Lockheed Martin), he conducted research for Naval Reactors. He currently serves as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership and as an instructor in Engineering Science at Penn State.
Erdman has chaired the local Jaycees, Department of Social Services Advisory Council, GE Share Board, and Curling Club; and served on the Human Services Planning Council, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Capital Fund Drive Boards of Directors. Erdman has also lectured on leadership topics at Penn State and RPI. He returned to campus frequently as a recruiter (25 years) for GE and Lockheed Martin, serving on the Penn State College of Engineering Advisory Council, helped establish an Alumni Advisory Board, and currently serves as the Past President of the College of Engineering Alumni Society and as a member of the Board of the PSAA Alumni Council. Affiliations include the Penn State Alumni Association, Centre County Chapter Board of Directors, President’s Club, Nittany Lion Club, ASEE, ASME, AIAA, AKC, GRCA. He has been honored with a LMC/KAPL Leadership Award, GE Phillippe Award, PSEAS Outstanding service award, Jaycee International Senatorship, and an ESM Centennial Fellowship.

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This paper evaluates the effectiveness of an engineering leadership development course under two formats: regular lecture and a flipped classroom. Flipped classrooms are designed to incorporate cognitivist and constructivist learning strategies into the classroom environment. Cognitivist-learning strategies build knowledge through internal processing of information while constructivist-learning strategies build knowledge through experiences. The objective of this study was to determine if a flipped classroom is associated with an increase in student self-rating of professional and leadership skills and perceived learning outcomes. Pre- and post-course survey data were collected in an engineering leadership principles course across nine semesters. The first five semesters (n=170) were structured as standard courses with lecture material and in-class activities, a cognitivist approach. The final four semesters (n=152) were structured with a flipped classroom approach. Students accessed course material through weekly online modules and class time was spent in reflective discussion and experiences based on the material offered online, a constructivist approach. The survey included 55 items that covered seven sub-scales: understanding of ethical issues, global awareness (world view), communication skills, organization/leadership skills, self-knowledge, creativity, and teamwork. Only student paired (pre and post) data were used in the analyses in this study. Most survey items had a significant increase from pre to post course survey response in the desired direction. To evaluate whether differences exist between the standard classroom and the flipped classroom, difference scores were calculated for each individual and a Mann-Whitney test, for group differences, was performed on the difference score with males and females combined and within each gender separately. Two items showed significantly higher difference scores in the standard classroom: ‘I can explain at least one ethical framework’ (p=0.038) and ‘I can apply a professional code of ethics to analyze an ethical problem’ (p=0.0003). The second item was also significant in the male and female individual analyses. In females, two survey items indicated significantly higher difference scores in the flipped classroom: ‘I am confident taking on leadership roles on projects’ (p=0.052) and ‘I understand my leadership style’ (p=0.018). These differences may be reflected in the differences between knowledge and emotional domains. Explaining and applying ethical frameworks are more in line with a knowledge domain, associated with cognitivist learning theories, whereas being confident in one’s leadership ability and understanding one’s own leadership style may be more related to emotional domains and a result of the constructivist approach to learning through the flipped classroom approach. Several additional trends were noted in the female difference score data that may be more evident with increased statistical power. Preliminary data indicate that the revised flipped classroom may be more effective than the standard classroom in developing student’s emotional intelligence.

Lang, D. H., & Handley, M., & Erdman, A. M. (2018, June), Flipped Classroom and Emotional Learning in an Engineering Leadership Development Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30524

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