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The Inverted Classroom in Introductory Calculus: Best Practices and Potential Benefits for the Preparation of Engineers

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Changing the Classroom Environment in Mathematics Education

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Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1233.1 - 24.1233.15



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Paper Authors


Robert Talbert Grand Valley State University

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Robert Talbert is an associate professor in the mathematics department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. He was previously on the faculty at Bethel College (Indiana) from 1997--2001 and Franklin College from 2001--2011. He holds a Ph.D. degree in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Master Teaching Fellow for the Center for Teaching and received the B.F. Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Robert's main scholarly interests lie in the scholarship of teaching and learning, especially at the intersection of mathematics, teaching, and technology. He is particularly interested in the inverted or "flipped" classroom model and how this model can solve pedagogical problems in the STEM disciplines related to concept acquisition and self-regulated learning behaviors. Robert's website, with information about teaching, scholarship and service, is He goes by @RobertTalbert on Twitter and blogs for the Chronicle of Higher Education at Casting Out Nines, located at Robert lives with his wife and three young children in Allendale, Mich.

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The inverted classroom in introductory calculus: Best practices and potential benefits for the preparation of engineersThe inverted or "flipped" classroom is an approach to course design in which new contentis first encountered by students outside the classroom in the form of structured readingand video assignments, and class time is spent on engaging, rigorous work intended toput students in a position to assimilate that content and make sense of it. The invertedclassroom therefore places a premium not only on deep learning of course content butalso on the development of skills students need for acquiring new information andsolving problems independently. The latter set of skills, which we can identify as "self-regulated learning" in the language of educational psychologist Paul Pintrich, containskills and behaviors that mesh well with the sort of engineering education envisioned insuch documents as *The Engineer of 2020*.In this paper, we examine an introductory calculus course offered using an inverteddesign at the author's university. All lecture content was moved outside the classroom viaa series of videos on YouTube. Students acquired introductory fluency with calculusconcepts through structured Guided Practice assignments that drew from the textbookand the videos. The resulting time freed up by relocating the lectures was spent on acombination of computer lab work and challenging group exercises. Three sections ofthis inverted calculus class were offered (out of 14 total) with roughly 50% of thestudents in each section coming from engineering disciplines.We will discuss the research framework behind the design of this course (drawing mainlyfrom Pintrich's work), the design and execution of the course, lessons learned from thecourse and initial qualitative data on its result, and plans for future large-scale research.

Talbert, R. (2014, June), The Inverted Classroom in Introductory Calculus: Best Practices and Potential Benefits for the Preparation of Engineers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23166

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