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Introducing an Instructional Model for “Flipped Engineering Classrooms” -Part (II): How Do Group Discussions Foster Meaningful Learning?

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Flipping ECE Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.805.1 - 24.805.20



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Paper Authors


Jia-Ling Lin University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Dr. Jia-Ling Lin is a research scientist in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education Center at the University of Minnesota ,Twin Cities. Her research is centered in areas of teaching and learning in engineering and physics. In particular, she focuses on establishing and examining instructional models that facilitate problem solving and deep learning in physics and engineering for secondary and post-secondary education.

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Paul Imbertson University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Tamara J. Moore Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Tamara J. Moore, Ph.D., is an associate professor of engineering education at Purdue University. Dr. Moore’s research is centered on the integration of STEM concepts in K-12 and higher education mathematics, science, and engineering classrooms in order to help students make connections among the STEM disciplines and achieve deep understanding. Her research agenda focuses on defining STEM integration and investigating its power for student learning. She is creating and testing innovative, interdisciplinary curricular approaches that engage students in developing models of real-world problems and their solutions. Her research also involves working with educators to shift their expectations and instructional practice to facilitate effective STEM integration. Tamara is the recipient of a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her work on STEM integration with underrepresented minority and underprivileged urban K-12 students.

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Introducing an Instructional Model for “Flipped Engineering Classrooms” -Part (II): How Do Group Discussions Foster Meaningful Learning? In a previous report, we discussed our design and implementation of an instructionalmodel for the new electric energy systems curriculum in the Department of Electrical andComputer Engineering at a large research-extensive mid-western university. One of thefundamental changes in instructional approaches for the new curriculum was to utilize problem-centered learning during regular in-class sessions. Students were instructed to learn theories andcontent by watching online video modules before coming to the class, and solve problems withpeers inside the classroom. Our study investigated how students learn in this so called “flippedclassroom” and identified pedagogies that facilitated active learning. By applying design-basedresearch methods, we introduced a Four-Practice Instructional Model based on student learningdemands for necessary instructional interventions. The design of the instructional model drawson an established framework for active learning, which includes the Four Practices: (1)anticipating, (2) monitoring, (3) connecting and contrasting, and (4) contextualized lecturing.The model has been implemented, and will continue to be modified through iterative cycles. Wehave found that the new instructional model has empowered the course instructor and redefinedthe instructor’s roles in non-traditional engineering classrooms. It helps to establish classroomdiscourse as an effective pedagogical tool. We explained how the model fostered interactivecommunications in the classroom, and discussed the degree to which classroom discourse is“authoritative” vs. “dialogic”. In particular, the model enhanced contextualized lecturing. The current study, the second part of the research, focuses on research questionsconcerning how students learn. We examined impacts that the new instructional model,particularly in-classroom discussions, had on student learning. Group discussions were observedduring the semester, and were audio taped towards the end. A framework based on a modifiedtaxonomy was created to analyze students’ “utterances”. It is evident that problem-centeredpedagogy engages students in collaborative dialogues during group discussions. The establisheddiscourse in group discussions functions as a heuristic teaching and learning tool that facilitateslearning of content knowledge and skills in a profound way. Two focus group meetings wereconducted to help gain insights into students’ learning perspectives and self-efficacy beliefs. TheFour-Practice Model helps build a learning community that promotes the development ofabilities and skills in cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal domains. It particularlyinfluences students who are self-identified as motivated and engaged with lasting effects. Theimplementation of the instructional model has been iterative, based on research findings of whatworks, what does not work, and why it does or does not work. We find that interactions andcommunications enhanced by the instructional model reveal individual students’ thinkingprocess and learning progress. It has the potential to work as an epistemological probe. We willcontinue to apply the design-based research method to refine instructional practices and plan toembed formative assessments that show students’ progress in learning.

Lin, J., & Imbertson, P., & Moore, T. J. (2014, June), Introducing an Instructional Model for “Flipped Engineering Classrooms” -Part (II): How Do Group Discussions Foster Meaningful Learning? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20697

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