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Flipped Classroom Approach: Probability and Statistics Course for Engineers

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Teaching and Learning Strategies I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.782.1 - 26.782.14



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Paper Authors

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Natasa S. Vidic University of Pittsburgh


Renee M Clark University of Pittsburgh

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Renee Clark serves as the Director of Assessment for the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her PhD from the Department of Industrial Engineering, where she also completed her post-doctoral studies. Her research has primarily focused on the application of data analysis techniques to engineering education research studies as well as industrial accidents. She has over 20 years of experience in various engineering, IT, and data analysis positions within academia and industry, including ten years of manufacturing experience at Delphi Automotive.

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Erin Gross Claypool University of Pittsburgh

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Erin G. Claypool, PhD, is a Field Faculty member of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She received a Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, with a research focus on Design for Supply Chain modeling. She was a National Science Foundation Fellowship holder, and also received B.S.I.E. and M.S.I.E. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked as a manufacturing engineer in the medical device industry prior to completing her doctoral studies. Her research interests include new education methods, logistics and operations including supply chain design and operation.

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Flipped Classroom approach: Probability and Statistics Course for EngineersWe implemented a pilot of the “flipped classroom” in the introductory probability and statisticscourse for engineers during the Fall 2014 semester at our school of engineering. Three sectionsof the introductory probability and statistics course were taught. This is a required course forcivil, electrical, mechanical and bio-engineering majors in our school. The flipped approach wasimplemented in two sections; the third section was taught traditionally and will serve as acomparison. The “flipped” or “inverted” classroom is an instructional technique in which lectureis removed from class time and replaced with more active instructional opportunities. Studentspractice their skills during class time and can receive individualized help from the instructor orTA as needed, versus passively taking notes while the instructor teaches the concepts. The flippedclassroom approach shifts instruction from passive to more active and allows the instructor toinclude problem solving elements while still covering necessary material. It provides greateropportunities for integrating higher order cognitive skills in the classroom and better structuresstudents’ out-of-class time. In the literature, we found implementations of the flipped classroomin other undergraduate statistics classrooms, and these flipped classrooms were associated withsignificant improvements in both direct measures of student learning as well as measures of theclassroom environment. Our class materials, including lecture notes, class activities, homeworkassignments and quizzes, were modified in order to implement the flipped classroom pilot duringfour weeks of the semester, or eight lecture periods. The remaining lectures were taughttraditionally. As part of our program evaluation, the two flipped sections were observed for thedegree of active learning, problem solving, and student engagement during class using astructured behavioral observation protocol known as the Teaching Dimensions ObservationProtocol (TDOP). Several of the traditionally-taught class sessions were also observed forcomparison. Also, a comparison of students’ performance in the two flipped sections versus the“traditional” section will allow accurate direct assessment of the benefits of the new approach.The overall assessment plan will evaluate the impacts of the flipped “pilot” classroom based onthe conceptual knowledge gains, targeted ABET outcomes, student engagement, instructors’reflections, and two perception instruments measuring students’ overall experience in the class.

Vidic, N. S., & Clark, R. M., & Claypool, E. G. (2015, June), Flipped Classroom Approach: Probability and Statistics Course for Engineers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24119

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