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Lessons Learned from Two Years of Flipping Circuits I

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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

Flipped Electrical and Computer Engineering Classrooms 2

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1087.1 - 26.1087.12



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Paper Authors


Gloria J Kim Northwestern University

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Gloria Kim is a Clinical Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. She also a courtesy faculty member with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Seoul National University, M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She teaches courses in biomechanics, biomaterials, bioinstrumentation, and nanotechnology.

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Mark E. Law University of Florida

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John G. Harris University of Florida

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Lessons Learned from Two Years of Flipping Circuits IA “target point” is a vulnerable transition, or perhaps even an undesirable climate, that impactsthe preparation steps toward becoming an engineer [1-2]. According to the NSF EngineeringDirectorate, one of the most critical “target points” to successful professional formation ofengineers is the engineering “core,” the middle two years of the four-year undergraduateexperience. During these middle years, students take a bulk of courses in engineeringfundamentals. These technically focused courses are critical junctures and are often the primarypoints of attrition. Uninspiring teaching, abstract content with seemingly little connection to“real” engineering [3], and lack of effective use of best teaching practices are frequently cited asobstacles in learning in these years [4]. Instructional interventions that engage the students andimprove student success as well as retention at this target point are therefore vital.Various pedagogical tools and methods have been developed and adopted to foster student-centered learning to address this problem. For teaching Circuits I – a representative core coursein electrical and computer engineering – in particular, examples include traditional lecturessupplemented with interactive software [5] or web-based materials [6], complete online deliveryof content [7], and problem-based learning [8-10]. The flipped classroom is a pedagogicalapproach where traditional in-class (synchronous lectures) and out-of-class activities(asynchronous homework) are reversed: Group learning activities take place inside theclassroom, and direct instruction is delivered online outside the classroom.In this paper, we present prior [11] and ongoing research of the flipped Circuits I class. The classmeets three times a week for an hour and is supported by a once-a-week laboratory experience ofthree hours. Using the quantitative assessment method, we measured student learningpreferences, student engagement, and learning of course concepts. These evaluations were basedon student surveys (mid-term reflections, course evaluations) and student work products(assigned homework, quizzes, exams). Highlights of the key results are significantly improvedstudent performance and retention. When Circuits I was taught in the traditional way, on averageonly 54% of the students that started the semester received the marks required (a “C” in thiscase) to take further courses in the curriculum. This number includes the 28% that dropped thecourse during the semester. In the first iteration of the flipped classroom, that numbers ofstudents who received a “C” or better jumped to 83% and only 2% of the enrollees dropped theclass. Study results also revealed areas that needed improvement, such as reworking thelaboratory to match the new flipped style of learning, editing the lectures, and revising thehomework assignments to enrich students’ experience. Future directions include assessingwhether the students who have benefitted from the flipped classroom continue to be successful infurther courses in the curriculum.References1. Sheppard, S.D., A.L. Antonio, S.R. Brunhaver, and S.K. Gilmmartin, Studying the Career Pathways of Engineers, in Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research, A. Johri and B.M. Olds, Editors. 2014, Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, USA.2. Jamieson, L. and J. Lohman, Innovation with Impact: Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education, ASEE, Editor. 2012: Washington, DC.3. Loshbaugh, H., AC 2007-1277: GEEKS ARE CHIC: CULTURAL IDENTITY AND ENGINEERING STUDENTS’PATHWAYS TO THE PROFESSION. 2007.4. Lord, S. and J. Chen, Curriculum Design in the Middle Years, in Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research, A. Johri and B.M. Olds, Editors. 2014, Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, USA.5. Oakley, B., II, "A virtual classroom approach to teaching circuit analysis," IEEE Transactions on Education, 39 (3), 287-296 (1996).6. Palma, L., Morrison, R.F., Enjeti, P.N., and Howze, J. W., "Use of web-based materials to teach electric circuit theory," IEEE Transactions on Education, 48 (4), 729-734 (2005).7. LaMeres, B.J., and Plumb, C., "Comparing Online to Face-to-Face Delivery of Undergraduate Digital Circuits Content," IEEE Transactions on Education (2013).8. Costa, L.R.J., Honkala, M., and Lehtovuori, A., "Applying the Problem-Based Learning Approach to Teach Elementary Circuit Analysis," IEEE Transactions on Education, 50 (1), 41-48 (2007).9. Yadav, A., Subedi, D., Lundeberg, M., and Bunting, C., “Problem-based Learning: Influence on Students' Learning in an Electrical Engineering Course,” Journal of Engineering Education, 100 (2) 253-280 (2011).10. Becker, J.P., Plumb, C., Revia, R.A., "Project Circuits in a Basic Electric Circuits Course," IEEE Transactions on Education (2013).11. Kim, G.J., E.E. Patrick, R. Srivastava, and M.E. Law, Perspective on Flipping Circuits I. Education, IEEE Transactions on, 2014. 57(3): p. 188-192.

Kim, G. J., & Law, M. E., & Harris, J. G. (2015, June), Lessons Learned from Two Years of Flipping Circuits I Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24424

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