June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.1253.1 - 26.1253.26
Probing the Flipped Classroom: A Controlled Study of Teaching and Learning Outcomes in Undergraduate Engineering and MathematicsMotivation and Background:A flipped classroom reverses the paradigm of traditional lecture courses by deliveringlectures outside of class – by means such as videos or screencasts – and using classmeeting time for instructor-mediated active learning. This format has the potential totransform STEM education by increasing student time spent on what research hasdemonstrated to be the most effective teaching techniques (i.e. active learning) withoutsacrificing material coverage or educational scaffolding. Many educators are beginning toinvert their classrooms, but there is limited (or no) data on learning gains currentlyavailable. We are rigorously examining the impact of four instructors inverting twoSTEM courses, in engineering (thermodynamics) and mathematics (differentialequations), by measuring student learning gains and attitudes towards the course material.Our expected measureable outcomes are: 1. Higher learning gains; 2. Increased ability to apply material in new situations (transfer); 3. Increased interest in and positive attitudes towards STEM fields (affective gains); and 4. Increased awareness by students of how they learn and strategies that support their learning (metacognitive gains).Our hypothesis is that increased student learning will arise primarily because of theadditional time that students will have with instructors actively working on meaningfultasks in class. If our hypotheses prove true, that will have implications for institutions thatare seeking to push more instruction online, where instructor-mediated learning islimited. In addition, because this study involves three different disciplines, the resultsshould be applicable across STEM fields and institutions.Methodology:The proposed study design is composed of three components: (1) direct assessmentmeasures specific to each of our courses/disciplines in addition to indirect assessmentmeasures; (2) comparison of control and experimental sections offered simultaneously (toreduce student demographic variability) using the same instructor (to limit instructorbias); and (3) direct assessment of learning gains and application both within the courseand in downstream courses to determine if learning gains persist.Results:For the first two years of implementation, the inverted classroom model at HMC showedequivalent results for student performance in comparison to the traditional classroommodel. While these findings still do not support original hypotheses, there are possibleexplanations for these results. It is possible that the small sample size (particularly inEngineering 82) and some missing data from Math 45 inhibited a complete test ofdifferences between the two groups. We expect to be able to combine data in theupcoming year to increase our power to detect actual group differences. In addition to thesample size issues, there are two additional possibilities for null results: thecharacteristics of students that attend HMC as well as the nature of the implementation ofthe inverted classroom model. Students at HMC are generally higher performing than theaverage undergraduate student1. Thus, detecting differences in student performance maybe difficult given a population of students that generally has high academic achievementregardless of the classroom design. Regarding the format, for the first two years of thestudy, the course formats were similar between the inverted and traditional classes:students encountered similar assignments, homework, and tests regardless of the classformat. The main difference for students between the two classroom models was whenthey had access to the professors for questions, during the lecture (traditional) or whiledoing homework (inverted).Conclusions and Next Steps:The data from the first two years of implementation at HMC suggested that therearrangement of classroom activities and homework may not have a measurable effecton student performance. Some literature suggests that an expansion of the curriculum,rather than a mere rearrangement, is necessary to properly implement an inverted coursemodel (Bishop & Vergeler, 2013). For the third and final years of the study, we intend toinstitute additional activities in support of the inverted class sections that are distinct fromthe traditional sections (e.g., more discussion of strategies and misconceptions). Thiswould allow for a strong test of the program theory and reduce the likelihood thatalternative explanations would be responsible for null findings in the future..1 Student performance information located at http://www.hmc.edu/about1/fast-facts.htmlstating freshman students (Class of 2016) scores ranged from 740 – 800 on the SAT (500is average score). Also, approximately 92% of freshmen class were ranked in top 10% oftheir high school class.
Lape, N. K., & Levy, R., & Yong, D. H., & Eddy, R. M., & Hankel, N. (2015, June), Probing the Flipped Classroom: A Controlled Study of Teaching and Learning Outcomes in Undergraduate Engineering and Mathematics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24590
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