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Using a “Flipped Classroom” Model in Undergraduate Newtonian Dynamics

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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

New Teaching Pedagogies: Methods and Assessments

Tagged Divisions

Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1319.1 - 24.1319.11



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Paper Authors


Susan B. Swithenbank US Coast Guard Academy

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Dr. Swithenbank is an Assistant Professor at the US Coast Guard Academy in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Prior to working at the USCGA, she was a researcher at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim Norway. She has a PhD from MIT in Ocean Engineering.

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Thomas William DeNucci U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Thomas DeNucci is an Assistant Professor of Ship Design at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. He holds a PhD in Ship Design from the Technical Univeristy of Delft, Delft, the Netherlands.

He is an active duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard and has previously served aboard a USCG HEALY (Polar Icebreaker) and has also served as port engineer for USCG suface assets in the Pacific Northwest.

He holds a tenured military faculty position at the Coast Guard Academy and teaches courses in Ship Design, Marine Engineering, Dynamics and Statics.

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Using a “Flipped Classroom” Model in Undergraduate Newtonian DynamicsThe concept of the “Flipped Classroom” has gained popularity over the last few years.This model offers advantages in student retention and improved student-teacherinteractions; additionally, the model offers the opportunity to leverage technology in asetting where undergraduate students are attuned to using technology, more teamworkoriented, have a disposition to using technology in a student-centered learningenvironment.Most examples of the “Flipped Classroom” paradigm have been applied in science andtechnology disciplines, but far more rarely in engineering courses. As a result, theapplication, implementation and cost benefit of this model in engineering courses is notwell documented.At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, students in the Civil Engineering, MechanicalEngineering, and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering majors are required to takean undergraduate course in Newtonian dynamics. Typically, the course has been taught insmall sections (20 person average) using a classical approach and delivered by traditionallecture (chalk & talk). Because of the small class size usually three to four instructors areused to teach the many sections. The Coast Guard Academy does not have any graduatestudents, and therefore has no teaching assistants. As a result, the faculty have a largetutoring load, often greater than 10 hours a week.In the spring of 2013, a “Flipped Classroom” approach was mixed with a series oftraditional lectures to create a hybrid course. Fundamental topics were usually introducedusing a traditional lecture style; the “Flipped Classroom” supplemented the material infollow-on video lectures with additional theory and worked examples. Classroom timewas used by the instructor to mentor students, answer any questions about the videolectures, address individual issues and problems, and answer targeted homeworkquestions.The feedback from the students of the “Flipped Classroom” model was largely positive.The partial “Flipped Classroom” approach reduced the tutoring load of the instructorswhile still giving students one-on-one instruction and feedback. Students valued theconvenience of viewing lectures anywhere at any time. Although the model tended tofavor the highly motivated students who diligently watched the videos and came to classhaving already attempted the homework, incentives were devised to appeal to the averagestudent.

Swithenbank, S. B., & DeNucci, T. W. (2014, June), Using a “Flipped Classroom” Model in Undergraduate Newtonian Dynamics Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23249

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