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Online Versus Flipped Classroom: A Comparison of Hands-On Skills Development in an Introductory Circuits Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Insights for Teaching ECE Courses - Session II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


David J. Cheney University of Florida

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David Cheney is a lecturer at the University of Florida. He instructs courses in circuits, electrical engineering design, and computer architecture. He received his received his PhD, Master of Engineering, and B.S.E.E. in Electrical and Computing Engineering from the University of Florida and has been a co-author on over 25 publications and conference presentations.

His vast engineering experience includes supercomputer CPU design, protective relaying and metrology in the electric utility industry, software application development (database and control), brain-machine interface research, compound semiconductor research, and has extensive experience in system integration.

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Pamela L. Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell is the Associate Director of the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education, in the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Her role as Associate Director of the Institute focuses on effective teaching methods and hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate student engagement and retention. Dr. Dickrell received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, specializing in Tribology. Her current research areas include hands-on and makerspace education methods for diverse student retention and inclusion.

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Lilianny Virguez University of Florida

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Lilianny Virguez is a Lecturer at the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education at University of Florida. She holds a Masters' degree in Management Systems Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. She has work experience in engineering and has taught engineering courses at the first-year level.Her research interests include motivation to succeed in engineering with a focus on first-year students.

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Universities are examining a variety of alternatives to the traditional teaching method of lecturing to students, many of which utilize technology to enhance or expand the traditional lecture experience. For classes with large enrollments that have a significant portion of the material that does not change from semester to semester, recorded lectures is one alternative to repeating the same live large lectures.

Based on a single set of core content-recorded lectures this work examines the effectiveness of two formats of delivery of the same material for students: 1) Online - where students watch online lectures and can attend online or live office hours or utilize the online course discussion board for help 2) Flipped classroom - where students watch the lectures online and spend time in class with hands-on learning and problem solving with a faculty member. Because both categories of students, “Online” and “Flipped Classroom”, watch the same lectures and complete the same assignments, there is an opportunity to compare the effectiveness of the two delivery methods.

This work examines the effectiveness of the two delivery methods in an Elements of Electrical Engineering course, where 250 engineering students who are not majoring in electrical engineering, learn about circuits, motors, AC power, and Op-Amps. The ratio of online students to flipped-classroom students is approximately 110 online to 140 flipped-classroom. The hands-on aspect consists of building Arduino circuits that complement the material presented in class. Flipped-classroom students build the circuits in the classroom in sections of less than 50 students, with the support of instructors and other students, whereas online students work at home, with optional live and online office hours and then must record a video of the working circuits and submit it for grading. Both online and flipped-classroom students are required to submit a final open-ended design challenge project using their Arduino based circuit kits, which is 10% of their final grade.

Metrics in this study to compare the online and flipped-classroom students are based on the Arduino builds. This work will examine the final circuit-design reports and videos for both categories of students against a rubric designed to rate the complexity, student understanding, and communication of the function of the Arduino based projects. Students in both categories are also surveyed for self-reported comparison of their comfort level and understanding of the Arduino builds.

Cheney, D. J., & Dickrell, P. L., & Virguez, L. (2019, June), Online Versus Flipped Classroom: A Comparison of Hands-On Skills Development in an Introductory Circuits Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33145

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015