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Flipping Calculus for Engineering Students: Pre-class Assignments and Readiness Assessment Strategies

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 1

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Jeffrey Lloyd Hieb University of Louisville

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Jeffrey L. Hieb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Louisville. He graduated from Furman University in 1992 with degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy. After 10 years working in industry, he returned to school, completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science Engineering at the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering in 2008. Since completing his degree, he has been teaching engineering mathematics courses and continuing his dissertation research in cyber security for industrial control systems. In his teaching, Dr. Hieb focuses on innovative and effective use of tablets, digital ink, and other technology and is currently investigating the use of the flipped classroom model and collaborative learning. His research in cyber security for industrial control systems is focused on high assurance field devices using microkernel architectures.

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William B. Corley University of Louisville Orcid 16x16

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William B. Corley, M.S., is the graduate research assistant on this project. He is an experimental psychology graduate student with the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at University of Louisville. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in experimental psychology with a cognitive psychology concentration. His background includes several educational research projects and training in statistical methods.

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Jaqi C. McNeil University of Louisville Orcid 16x16

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JC McNeil is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at University of Louisville. Contact email:

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The use of the flipped classroom strategy of instructional design in STEM classes continues to receive favorable attention. There is a preponderance of evidence indicating that active learning (the flipped classroom is inherently tied to active learning) is associated with higher examination scores, lower failure rates, and increase student engagement. However, implementation and execution of the flipped classroom strategy presents new instructional design challenges. The success of the flipped classroom depends, at least to some degree, on students attaining a basic level of understanding of relevant material before participating in that day’s flipped classroom activities. Developing those classroom activities is of paramount importance, but motivating and assuring that students come adequately prepared is almost of equal importance. It is also worth noting that with many faculty lacking any experience as students in a flipped class, flipping a class is most likely both revolutionary and evolutionary. This paper describes the evolution of the author’s efforts to address the challenge of motivating and assessing student preparation in a series of flipped calculus based courses for engineering students: Engineering Analysis I, II and III. The courses were taught in progression beginning in the summer of 2015, through the spring of 2016; then starting over again in the summer of 2016 with Engineering Analysis I. Each semester there were two sections, with combined enrollment anywhere between 60 and 100 students. Pre-class assignments are a combination of videos, OneNote™ notebook pages, e-text sections, and on-line practice problems. The exact composition of those materials has changed over the semesters, and that evolution will be discussed and when possible analyzed. Pre-class assignment scores were a small part of the final grade calculation. Initially, readiness assessment tests (RATs) were not used, with the pre-class assignments serving the dual role of preparation material and readiness assessment. In the spring of 2016 daily readiness assessment tests were given in Engineering Analysis III. The RATs were administered on paper and collected during the first five or ten minutes of class. They were scored after class, with that score having a small contribution to the final course grade. Informal and anecdotal evidence suggests that students valued the readiness assessment tests. The RATs required the development of different kinds of questions than those typically given on examinations, and the paper discusses the development of RATs and shares some specific examples of both successful and unsuccessful RAT questions. With an eye towards scaling these courses to larger enrollments, in the summer of 2016 readiness assessment testing was moved to the online system Learning Catalytics ™, enabling automatic scoring. Implementation and evaluation details about the readiness assessment portion of Learning Catalytics are discussed in the paper.

Hieb, J. L., & Corley, W. B., & McNeil, J. C. (2017, June), Flipping Calculus for Engineering Students: Pre-class Assignments and Readiness Assessment Strategies Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28369

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