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How Do You Like Your Course - Blended or Flipped?: A Preliminary Comparison

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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

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.853.1 - 26.853.15



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Paper Authors


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 primarily focuses 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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Autar Kaw University of South Florida

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Autar Kaw is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching. The award is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate education.
Professor Kaw received his BE Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) India in 1981, and his degrees of Ph.D. in 1987 and M.S. in 1984, both in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University, SC. He joined University of South Florida in 1987.
Professor Kaw’s main scholarly interests are in engineering education research, open courseware development, bascule bridge design, fracture mechanics, composite materials, and the state and future of higher education.
Funded by National Science Foundation (2002-16), under Professor Kaw's leadership, he and his colleagues from around the nation have developed, implemented, refined and assessed online resources for an open courseware in Numerical Methods ( This courseware annually receives more than a million page views, 900,000 views of the YouTube lectures, and 150,000 visitors to the "numerical methods guy" blog.
Professor Kaw has written more than 85 refereed technical papers and his opinion editorials have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune and Chronicle Vitae. His work has been covered/cited/quoted in many media outlets including Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, U.S. Congressional Record, Florida Senate Resolution, ASEE Prism, and Voice of America.

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Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Mary Besterfield-Sacre is an Associate Professor and Fulton C. Noss Faculty Fellow in Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the Director for the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) in the Swanson School of Engineering, and serves as a Center Associate for the Learning Research and Development Center. Her principal research is in engineering education assessment, which has been funded by the NSF, Department of Ed, Sloan, EIF, and NCIIA. Dr. Sacre’s current research focuses on three distinct but highly correlated areas – innovative design and entrepreneurship, engineering modeling, and global competency in engineering. She is currently associate editor for the AEE Journal.

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Andrew Scott Alabama A&M University

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Andrew Scott has been a faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, since 2002. He has a strong background in high-performance scientific computing, including algorithms and numerical analyses on parallel and distributed systems. He has expertise in the following areas: Field Programmable Gate Arrays for reconfigurable computing applications, software development for heterogeneous computing environments, domain decomposition, process mapping and data structuring techniques for distributed platforms, and finite element analysis. He holds both BS and MS degrees in mechanical/aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

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How do you like your course - Blended or Flipped?: A Preliminary ComparisonBlended and flipped teaching approaches have been implemented in a numerical methods coursetaken by undergraduate mechanical engineering students at a southern university. With“flipped” instruction, students practice and demonstrate skills in class and come prepared to doso by viewing or reading content beforehand. Blended instruction is slightly more general andaims to optimally integrate online and face-to-face learning. During the spring 2014 semester, ablended approach was used; in the summer 2014 term, both blended and flipped approaches wereused. Eight particular multiple-choice questions on the final exam were based on topics taught ina flipped mode in the summer and in a blended mode in the spring; these questions wereotherwise identical. Six other questions were based on topics taught in a blended mode in bothterms. When analyzed for various demographic segments of the student population, such asfemales, under-represented groups, or transfer status, there were statistically significantimprovements from the spring to the summer term in the outcome of the eight “flipped-mode”questions but not in the outcome of the six “blended-mode” questions. This suggests that flippedinstruction may be the better approach for increasing achievement in numerical methods. Otherdependent variables were analyzed, including a numerical methods self-efficacy score and thefree-response outcome on the final, and although not statistically significant, there was typicallyan upward change from the spring to the summer term for the various demographic segmentsconsidered. This suggests that the introduction of flipped instruction may lead to enhancedoutcomes. Students were asked to rate the classroom environment using the College andUniversity Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI). Although statistical differences werenot found between the semesters, the students favored the spring classroom on some dimensionsand the summer classroom on others. Based on a student evaluation of the summer term’sflipped component, 33% of the respondents preferred the flipped instruction, with another 44%unsure of their preferences. However, over 60% of the students preferred using class time foractive learning with the instructor present versus listening to a lecture. Interestingly, therespondents’ sentiments were predominantly neutral to negative concerning the influence of theflipped classroom in providing future-career experience as well as greater learning gains. Yet, inan open-ended question, the most frequently-stated benefits of flipped instruction were related toenhanced or deeper learning as well as preparedness, engagement, and professional behaviors.The experiences and reflections of the instructor in teaching both classes will be discussed. Thisstudy is believed to be one of the first to compare blended and flipped instruction in a STEMcourse.

Clark, R. M., & Kaw, A., & Besterfield-Sacre, M. E., & Scott, A. (2015, June), How Do You Like Your Course - Blended or Flipped?: A Preliminary Comparison Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24190

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