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Impact of the Flipped Classroom on Students' Learning and Retention in Teaching Programming

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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

Practice III: Multimedia Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Shamima Mithun Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Lecturer at Computer Information Technology (CIT) department, IUPUI
I received my PhD in Compter Science in 2012.

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Nancy Evans Indiana University

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Nancy Evans is a Lecturer in Communication, Professional, and Computer Skills at the IU Kelley School of Business, Bloomington. She brings her experience in the business world (B.S. in Accounting), Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Ball State University, former consulting as a career coach, and teaching experience in Computer Information Technology at IUPUI to her current teaching of a leadership course. At numerous conferences, Nancy has delivered presentations related to critical thinking, flipped classrooms, online learning, and students’ perceptions of meaningfulness. She has been awarded the Frank E. Burley Distinguished Professor Award for service and two Outstanding Teaching Awards. She recently completed a Mosaic fellowship at IUPUI and plans to continue as a Senior Mosaic Fellow at IU Bloomington.

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Title: Impact of the Flipped Classroom on Students Learning and Retention in Teaching Programming

Abstract: This “evidence-based practice” paper describes the study of a flipped classroom teaching approach compared to a traditional lecture-based teaching approach in an introductory programming course. Many students in the computer information technology program (CIT) at IUPUI were not retaining fundamental programming concepts from their introductory programming course, CIT14000. Students also procrastinated taking higher-level programming courses because of bad experiences in the introductory course. With the goal of addressing these issues and improving student learning, faculty employed a flipped classroom model to teach CIT14000, focusing on problem solving techniques, program design/development, logic, and object-oriented terminology/concepts.

The traditional lecture-based structure and instructional pedagogies of CIT14000 had not changed in over a decade. Previously, the course covered too much content without enough practice of the basics. Faculty changed the focus of the course content to depth versus breadth. In our flipped classroom model, video lectures were delivered outside the classroom with a follow-up quiz, group discussion, or an activity to encourage students to watch the video. Most of actual class time was utilized for hands-on group activities/collaboration on a programming problem.

In this 18-month long project, a faculty member taught two sections of CIT14000 in Fall 2015 using traditional lecture-based teaching approach and two sections of the same course in Spring 2016 using the flipped classroom model. Data from the fall sections were compared to spring sections. Results showed the class grade average in flipped sections increased by a letter grade compared to that of traditional sections. This difference was not statistically significant. Despite the flipped classroom model not showing statistically significant improvement on students’ performance, students' attendance in flipped classroom increased by 9% compared to that of traditional classroom. Students’ attendance and participation shows the flipped classroom has a positive impact on students’ motivation and engagement.

Several focus groups were conducted by a facilitator from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at IUPUI and reports show that 92% of students perceived their understanding was deepened by the "flipped" approach. In these studies, fifty students from CIT14000 sections taught using flipped classroom participated. Since students perceive their understanding and learning is deeper, they should be able to retain the programming knowledge better. To further evaluate students’ retention, we conducted a survey to collect 200-level programming students’ opinions. In this survey, 38 students from two different classes participated. In this survey, 78% of students agreed that CIT14000 prepared them well for their 200-level programming class; 13% did not response because they did not take the class at IUPUI; and 9% disagreed. Students who disagreed admitted that either they did not spend sufficient time in CIT14000 or they took the class too long ago. We have also received positive verbal feedback on students’ retention from 200-level faculty members. Further, students are enrolling in their 200-level programming classes the semester after completing CIT14000. In conclusion, evaluation results show flipped classroom has positive impact on students’ learning and retention.

Mithun, S., & Evans, N. (2018, June), Impact of the Flipped Classroom on Students' Learning and Retention in Teaching Programming Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30608

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