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Testing Instructional Approaches in Flipped Engineering Classrooms

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Jia-Ling Lin University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Jia-Ling Lin is a research scientist in the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on two distinct but highly correlated areas: innovative instructional model development and its impact on undergraduate engineering and science learning. Jia-Ling was a scientist specializing nanotechnology and surface science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She later served as the director of the Undergraduate Learning Center in engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before moving to Minnesota.

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Paul Imbertson University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Testing Instructional Approaches in Flipped Engineering Classrooms

Content and delivery is a critical consideration for quality instruction design in engineering education. Effective content delivery depends on the difficulty of the material and the structure of content including concepts, relationships between concepts, applications of concepts, etc. However, in flipped lectures instructional challenges include additional complexities. How instructors deliver content in ways that do not undermine students’ authority over their own learning is of utmost concern. In previous studies, we established an instructional model in flipped classrooms, which takes a balanced approach between student-centered learning and instructors’ talks that support learning. The model describes the four practices focusing on problem-centered collaborative learning. Content is presented as problems for in-class learning activities replacing traditional lectures. Analysis of classroom discourse indicated that students were encouraged to take ownership over their learning and learned what counts toward learning. Building on our improved understanding of how students learn and how we support their learning, we proceed to examine instructional approaches for learning content that demand higher cognitive abilities. The current study concerns issues of how instructional interventions should be designed to meet learning needs in such settings. A variety of methods has been employed in helping students develop intuition and practical skills for designing and solving real-world problems beyond learning of content knowledge in classrooms. The study compares several techniques of problematizing content: (1) exploratory, with not overly structured problems; (2) definitive, with well structured problems; and (3) a middle ground, somewhat in between the two, assessing their impact on learning. The study took place in an electrical engineering course. Two research questions coming out of a design-based research paradigm are: (1) What instructional interventions and support are required to facilitate learning? (2) How do we deliver problematized content to engage students in learning? Students’ group discussions while solving problems were audio recorded and transcribed. Group problem solving worksheets and individuals’ exam copies were collected and analyzed. Classroom learning activities were video recorded. Pedagogical principles that support the four-practice model are applied to identify situations in which students responded to and interacted with interventions as intended. Instructional design rationale and conditions are examined in conjunction with learning outcomes. In general, when students are challenged by cognitive aspect of the problem and engaged in dialogic inquiries, they use their time to confront and fix misconceptions and to learn how to create conceptual and solution models. It provides insight into instructions that better engage students in learning.

Lin, J., & Imbertson, P. (2016, June), Testing Instructional Approaches in Flipped Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26079

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