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Work-in-Progress: A Novel Approach to Collaborative Learning in the Flipped Classroom

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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

Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1395.1 - 24.1395.12



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Paper Authors


Neelam Soundarajan Ohio State University

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Neelam Soundarajan is a faculty member in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Ohio State University. His research interests include software engineering and engineering education.

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Swaroop Joshi Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Swaroop is a Ph.D. student in computer science and engineering at the Ohio State
University. His interests include a range of problems in software engineering as well as the use of technology in the classroom.

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Rajiv Ramnath Ohio State University

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Dr. Rajiv Ramnath is Director of Practice at the Collaborative for Enterprise Transformation and Innovation (CETI), and an evangelist for AweSim, a consortium that seeks to bring high-performance computing based modelling and simulation to small and medium enterprises in the Midwest. He was formerly Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Concentus Technology Corp., in Columbus, Ohio, and led product-development and government-funded R&D – notably through the National Information Infrastructure Integration Protocols program funded by Vice President Gore's ATP initiative. He is now engaged in developing industry-facing programs of applied R&D, classroom and professional education and technology transfer. His expertise ranges from wireless sensor networking and pervasive computing to business-IT alignment, enterprise architecture, software engineering, e-Government, collaborative environments and work-management systems. He teaches software engineering at OSU and is involved in industry-relevant and inter-disciplinary curriculum development initiatives. Dr. Ramnath received his Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from OSU and his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

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Work-in-Progress: A Novel Approach to Collaborative Learning in the Flipped Classroom The most widely accepted definition of the flipped classroom is one where “events that havetraditionally taken place inside the classroom now take place outside the classroom and vice versa”,Lage et al. [2000]. Thus the knowledge transfer that the traditional lecture tries to achieve isinstead achieved, typically, via video lectures which the students are responsible for viewing beforeattending the in-person lecture. The in-person lecture is devoted to answering questions (thatstudents may have based on their viewing of the corresponding video lecture(s)), joint problemsolving activities, as well as other active learning tasks that provide individual and group practice. A number of authors have reported on their experiences with the flipped classroom approach,e.g., Foertsch et al. [2002], Redekopp and Ragusa [2013], Swartz et al. [2013]. Interestingly, al-though most authors report that students find the flipped classrooms far more engaging than tradi-tional classes, student achievement with respect to the intended learning outcomes for the coursesis roughly the same as in traditional classes. Given the increased level of active learning com-ponenents in the flipped classroom, one would have expected a much higher level of achievementof learning outcomes compared to the regular classroom. The key question our work-in-progresstries to address is why this is so and how we can fine-tune the flipped classroom model to improvestudent outcomes. Bishop and Verleger [2013] summarize various theoretical frameworks underlying the flippedclassroom. For our work, the key is the notion of cognitive conflict [Piaget, 1964]. AlthoughPiaget was concerned mainly with the intellectual growth of children, his ideas are very relevantfor adult learners as well, including engineering students. A key point in Piaget’s theory wasthat peer interaction was a potent component of a learner’s grasp of new concepts; in particular,cognitive conflict, i.e., disagreements with other learners’ conception of the same problem or topicwas fundamental since it highlighted alternatives to the learner’s own conception. The learner isforced to consider and evaluate these alternatives on equal terms. This is quite different from ateacher telling a learner that his or her conception is incorrect because then, given the authorityof the teacher, the learner simply accepts this without critical evaluation. By contrast, when the(cognitive) disagreement is with peers, the learner is forced to evaluate the alternatives criticallyand pick one after careful deliberation (although, naturally, how critical this evaluation is willdepend on the level of maturity of the learner). The goal of our work is to incorporate facilities to have engineering students in a flipped class-room engage in identifying such cognitive conflicts between their own ideas, formed when theyobserve a given video lecture, and those of the ideas of other members of their team (typically offour or five students). In other words, in preparing for an in-person lecture, each student in a teamis required to individually watch the corresponding video lecture. The student is then required toelectronically submit answers to a small set of questions posed at the end of the video lecture.He/she is then required to engage in an electronic discussion with the rest of his/her team, trying topersuade the other members of the team of the correctness of his/her answers to the questions; andtrying to understand, as well, the rationale for the other students’ answers. Following this discus-sion, each student is required to individually again submit answers to the same questions. Theseanswers may be the same or different from the previously submitted answers; the key requirementis that the student must provide, in each case a brief explanation of his/her answer if it is differentfrom the original submission. We are currently in the process of developing our system for implementing this approach tothe flipped classroom. We believe that the full potential of the flipped classroom will be realizedonly if students are required, before the in-person lecture, to think deeply about the video lecturesthey watch; and this can be best enabled by having students engage in serious discussion withtheir peers about specific questions based on the video lecture and critically evaluate their ownand the peers’ answers to those questions. We plan to implement our approach in a senior-levelcourse on software engineering and a junior-level course on programming language principles inour Computer Science and Engineering program; and hope to report preliminary results in the fullpaper.ReferencesM Lage, G Platt, and M Treglia. Inverting the classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. Journal of Economic Education, 31(1):30–43, 2000.J Foertsch, G Moses, J Strikwerda, and M Litzkow. Reversing the lecture/homework paradigm using eteach web-based streaming video software. Journal of Engineering Education, 91(3): 267–274, 2002.W Redekopp and G Ragusa. Evaluating flipped classroom strategies and tools for computer engi- neering, Paper ID #7063. In Proc. of ASEE Annual Conf., pages 1–18. ASEE, 2013.B Swartz, S Velegol, and J Laman. Three approaches to flipping ce courses: Faculty perspectives and suggestions, Paper ID #7982. In Proc. of ASEE Annual Conf., pages 1–18. ASEE, 2013.J Bishop and M Verleger. The flipped classroom: A survey of the reearch, Paper ID #6219. In Proc. of ASEE Annual Conf., pages 1–17. ASEE, 2013.J Piaget. The early growth of logic in the child. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964.

Soundarajan, N., & Joshi, S., & Ramnath, R. (2014, June), Work-in-Progress: A Novel Approach to Collaborative Learning in the Flipped Classroom Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23328

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