Flipped teaching and flexible learning in an undergraduate engineering course
Khoo, E. G. L., & Peter, M. (2017). Flipped teaching and flexible learning in an undergraduate engineering course. Presented at the New Zealand Association of Research in Education Conference 2017, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12328
In a flipped class, lecture materials are assigned as take-home tasks for students to complete prior to attending face-to-face classes. The class time is thus freed up for the application of the learned ideas through active in-class inquiry, collaboration, and to address student questions and misconceptions. These activities can help students master threshold concepts (TCs) and develop the skills required of 21st century graduates. In a two-year TLRI funded project we investigated how a flipped classroom approach can impact student learning of technical knowledge (i.e., TCs) and nontechnical competencies (e.g., teamwork). The project examined: 1. the effects of the flipped classroom on students’ learning of threshold concepts (TCs), 2. the affordances of the flipped classroom model of teaching in a first-year compulsory electronics engineering course, and, 3. the long term impact of the flipped class on the development of engineering students’ workplace competencies. This research took place in a New Zealand university in an introductory engineering undergraduate course with enrolments of typically 150 students. In the past the course lecturers had been refining the course through a focus on TCs and the introduction of online tutorials. Since findings from these efforts have been promising in supporting teaching and learning, the lecturers sought to extend their course redesign to encompass a flipped classroom intervention. Using a design-based method, five cycles of the flipped classroom were implemented where each cycle was enhanced in terms of the course design, materials, and assessment, based on the results of the previous cycle. Two lecturers and students enrolled in the course during each cycle/semester of the flipped class participated in the research. Data were collected from lecturer interviews, student surveys, video analytics, student assessments, class observations and a focus group interview. Key findings revealed that students’ learning of TCs was enhanced and that they valued the flipped course components such as the lecturer-created videos, in-class problem-solving exercises and continuous assessment in helping them learn. The course lecturers noted higher levels of student engagement during in-class times compared to previous years. We will report on the overview of: 1. the design of the flipped classroom for the purposes of the course, enhancements made in each cycle and the impact these had on teaching and learning; 2. student learning and achievement as a result of the intervention, and; 3. implications for practice and policy for practitioners interested in implementing the flipped class approach in their context.
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