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The Evaluation of Different Learning Tools in Flipped Mechanics of Materials

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Flipped, Blended, Online, Oh My

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Sarira Motaref P.E. University of Connecticut

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Sarira Motaref is an associate professor in residence in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut. She serves as Assistant Director of faculty development at the School of Engineering. She has been teaching large classes such as CE 2110 (Applied Mechanics I) and CE 3110 (Mechanics of Materials) which are major requirement across multiple disciplines in the School of Engineering since 2013. She has led the efforts within the Department to develop and deliver flipped sections of undergraduate courses. She is a licensed professional engineer. She has attended several teaching workshops and received certificates from UConn CETL (Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) and NETI (National Effective Teaching Institutes). Sarira is recipient of 2019 Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at the University of Connecticut, Winner of 2010 James D. Cooper Student Award at the International Bridge Conference, recipient of 2016, 2017, 2018 Klewin Excellence in teaching award and 2016 nominee for Mentorship Excellence Award from UConn office of undergraduates.

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Title: The Evaluation of Different Learning Tools in Flipped Mechanics of Materials

The Mechanics of materials course has been offered in flipped modality in the past few years. The main objectives for developing this flipped course were to enhance the learning quality in large-enrollment classes and promote inclusive teaching by providing online course contents to all students. However, there were obstacles observed in offering flipped engineering courses in large classes (over 100 enrollments), such as providing efficient interactions between teacher-student, student-student, aligning students’ progress with the class schedule and maintaining class engagement. In addition, lack of 3-dimensional visualization, repetitive conceptual mistakes, and plagiarism in homework submissions were observed among students in this engineering classroom. Different learning tools have been tried and tested by the instructor during the past 6 years to address the above obstacles, enhance learning outcomes, and improve students’ class experience. The success or failure of these methods have been evaluated by conducting mid semester surveys, end of semester class evaluations, and by comparing the students’ performance. The course contents are delivered via short videos outside the class. The class time is used to review more challenging concepts and includes short recitation of the lecture material followed by solving problems by the instructor and the students individually or in groups. The mid semester evaluation of the class revealed that more than 75 percent of students prefer the flipped class over traditional teaching. They indicate that problem solving activity and lecture videos are the most beneficial class components in the students’ learning. To enhance students’ visualization, foam models and Augmented Reality (AR) are being used. Only 50 percent of students found AR activity (using their smart device) helpful. Pictures from real life applications of each engineering topic were collected and shared via social media (Facebook) in the past classes. Few students showed interest to share pictures or comment on the class Facebook page. Students’ participation increased when these pictures were displayed and discussed during recitation. Smart book (containing the online homework platform) was replaced by the old fashion paper submission. This platform was selected by the instructor to address the issue of plagiarism as it offers algorithmic problems to each student. The survey showed that more than 80 percent of students prefer the online homework platform (due to instant feedback and comfort of multiple submissions). The teacher assistants were able to spend their time interacting with each student rather than grading homework. Class assessments include online quizzes, midterm exams, and in-class assignments. Main objectives for in-class assignment are encouraging students to watch videos before attending the class and interact with peers. Teams of students solve a problem and submit it during class. More than 70 percent of students claimed that the team effort enhances their learning and class experience. The students’ performance, average grades in assignments, and the rate of class attendance in consequence semesters will be compared and presented. Other techniques used to minimize common engineering errors among students will be shared in this article.

Motaref, S. (2020, June), The Evaluation of Different Learning Tools in Flipped Mechanics of Materials Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35317

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