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(PREP)ARE: A Student-centered Approach to Provide Scaffolding in a Flipped Classroom Environment

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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

First-year Programs Division: Online Learning

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Sarah Jane Grigg Clemson University

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Dr. Sarah Grigg is a senior lecturer in General Engineering at Clemson University. She is a human factors design engineer specializing in process improvement and error mitigation across various contexts including engineering education, healthcare, and transportation. She received Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering, a Certificate in Engineering Education, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Clemson University.

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Elizabeth Anne Stephan Clemson University

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is the Director of Academics for the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. She holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron. Since 2002, she has taught, developed, and and now coordinates the first-year curriculum. As the lead author of the "Thinking Like an Engineer" textbook, currently in its 4th edition, she has been the primary author team–member in charge of the development of the MyEngineeringLab system.

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Promoting problem solving skill development is a major focus of the General Engineering (GE) Program at [our] University, as problem solving is a critical skill required by practicing engineers. The GE Program has utilized a SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Activities for Large-Enrollment Undergraduate Programs) environment for over a decade. SCALE-UP is a highly collaborative, hands-on classroom format where the primary emphasis is on learning by guided inquiry rather than by traditional lecturing. The SCALE-UP learning environments is a natural "semi-flipped" classroom by the nature of the program. When used within a large enrollment program that utilizes several instructors in a single semester, the amount of "flip" will vary with each instructor providing various levels of lecture and activities.

Since the first course in the GE sequence is composed of more than 90% first time freshman, the largest hurdle with using a "flipped" environment is getting the students to adequately prepare for class to allow for meaningful classroom discussion. In the Fall 2015 semester, the entire first-year sequence adopted the (PREP)ARE model to assist students in understanding the expectations for each class.

The model was presented in a standard course management format across all courses. Each course was divided into learning modules where each built off the knowledge and skills developed in prior modules. For each module, students were instructed to PREP: Preview the material; get Ready for class; Expand their knowledge; and then Prove it by completing the homework. Prior to each exam, students were asked "ARE you ready?" and encouraged to answer this question by Assessing their performance on each module by analyzing mistakes made on assignments and asking questions of the instructor for further clarification; Reviewing any topics not mastered; then taking the Exam.

Each of the four courses implementing the (PREP)ARE method varied in their exact instruments used to accomplish each task. For example, the first course provided the necessary out of class materials via MyEngineeringLab (MEL), a web-based homework management system accessed by students as a companion site to the course textbook. MyEngineeringLab is part of the MyLab and Mastering suite of products operated by Pearson Higher Education. The success of large-scale implementation of the (PREP)ARE model relied on this ability to set assignment pre-requisites in the MEL system, providing a built-in mechanism to guide students through problem sets based on their knowledge base. Students who entered the class with significant prior knowledge were allowed to skip "expanding" on the material and proceed straight to the homework.

This work will discuss the (PREP)ARE model in detail, giving examples of activities for each stage to illustrate the breadth of applicability to first-year course material. Examination results, student/instructor attitudes, and course DFW rates will be compared between courses using this method to prior courses.

Grigg, S. J., & Stephan, E. A. (2018, June), (PREP)ARE: A Student-centered Approach to Provide Scaffolding in a Flipped Classroom Environment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29651

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