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Probing the Flipped Classroom: A Controlled Study of Teaching and Learning Outcomes in Undergraduate Engineering and Mathematics

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

26

Page Numbers

26.1253.1 - 26.1253.26

DOI

10.18260/p.24590

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24590

Download Count

56

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Paper Authors

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Nancy K Lape Harvey Mudd College

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Nancy K. Lape is an Associate Professor of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College.

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Rachel Levy Harvey Mudd College

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Rachel Levy is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. In addition to her work on fluid mechanics, she is the founder of the blog Grandma got STEM and an investigator on two NSF-funded education projects: one studying flipped classrooms and the other preparing teachers for mathematical modeling in the elementary grades. She is the incoming vice president for education for SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the outgoing Editor in Chief of SIURO, an online undergraduate research publication. She also is a recent winner of the Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member.

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Darryl H Yong Harvey Mudd College

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Darryl Yong is currently an associate professor of mathematics and associate dean for diversity at Harvey Mudd College. His research interests relate to partial differential equations and the preparation and original developmentof high school math teachers.

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Rebecca M Eddy Cobblestone Applied Research & Evaluation, Inc.

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Dr. Eddy received her doctorate in Applied Cognitive Psychology and has spent her career focused on applying the principles of learning and cognition to evaluation of educational programs. Her work includes published articles and client technical reports as President of Cobblestone Applied Research & Evaluation, Inc. and a faculty member at Claremont Graduate University. Work at Cobblestone focuses on advancing the numbers of underrepresented minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Dr. Eddy has conducted evaluation or applied research studies on numerous university projects including clients programs funded by the National Science Foundation; U.S. Department of Education Title III and Title V; National Institutes of Health; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, among others. Dr. Eddy also trains professional evaluators from around the world as a faculty member at Claremont Graduate University in the Advanced Certificate in Evaluation Program.

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Nancy Hankel Cobblestone Applied Research & Evaluation, Inc.

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Ms. Hankel is a Research Associate II at Cobblestone and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. from UCLA in Educational Leadership. She has worked as a research associate on one Houghton Mifflin Harcourt efficacy study with sites across the United States, and has worked on numerous other curriculum studies in the past. She manages multiple projects at Cobblestone and is skilled in various aspects of the research process including data analysis, coding, and reporting. She has experience in interviewing, site visits, instrument development, and site management.

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Abstract

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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