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Inverting (Flipping) Classrooms – Advantages and Challenges

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Delivery Methods in Mechanical Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.828.1 - 23.828.21



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Paper Authors


Gregory Mason Seattle University

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Dr. Greg Mason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University. His interests include control systems, data acquisition, and the use of technology to support the non-traditional classroom.

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Teodora Rutar Shuman Seattle University

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Teodora Rutar Shuman is an Associate Professor and Chair at Seattle University, Department of Mechanical Engineering. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington. She pursues research in electro-mechanical systems for sustainable processing of microalgae. email:

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Kathleen E. Cook Seattle University

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Kathleen Cook, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Seattle University. Dr. Cook received her doctorate in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of Washington, with a minor in quantitative methods and emphases in cognitive and educational psychology. Her research has included classroom learning, person perception, health perceptions, and jury decision making.

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Inverting Classrooms – Advantages and ChallengesThe educational benefits of learner-centered instruction, including active, cooperative, andproblem-based learning, are widely recognized. However, educators are often reluctant toimplement learner-centered activities because they perceive doing so will reduce class contentcoverage. An inverted classroom is a method that can free classroom time for learner-centeredactivities. In an inverted classroom (IC), course content is disseminated outside the classroomthrough mediums such as video lectures and web-based tutorials, in addition to traditionalmethods such as assigned reading, assigned homework problems, interactive exercises, andpower-point presentations. Students are responsible for learning basic course material outside ofclass time. Unlike an online class, an IC includes face-to-face time with the instructor inclassroom or laboratory setting where the material learned outside of class is discussed andapplied. The IC allows an educator to present course material in several different formats, and soengages the different learning styles and preferences of students. The IC format encouragesstudents to become self-learners and help prepare them for how they will need to learn aspracticing engineers. Our experience shows that the IC format can free class time for learner-centered activities without sacrificing course content.This paper describes the implementation of an IC in a senior-level Control Systems course. Twoofferings of these courses with 20-25 students each have been entirely taught as inverted. Thispaper describes best practices in offering these courses, including a guide for instructors onpreparing video lectures and structuring the course to provide a safe environment for students tolearn in this unique format. Two years of assessment data are presented in this paper, includingstudent exam performance, and instructor and student observations and perceptions of theinverted classroom format collected through surveys and interviews. Key results fromassessments are: 1) although there is some initial resistance from the students to the new format,students adjust to the format after a few weeks. Therefore the format should be implemented foran entire term in order to obtain full benefits of this approach; 2) students showed an increasedawareness of importance of self-learning and learning benefits when responsibility for learning isplaced on a student; 3) the format frees time for students to work on more problems than in atraditional setting and that keeps their motivation, and satisfaction high; 4) student performanceon exams and homework was not diminished through the uses of an IC.

Mason, G., & Shuman, T. R., & Cook, K. E. (2013, June), Inverting (Flipping) Classrooms – Advantages and Challenges Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19842

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